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August 3rd 2020

Accidents & Illness Abroad

Family of English motorcyclist killed when hit by Italian car driver awarded seven figure damages sum

Paul McClorry

Paul McClorry

Head of Travel Litigation

Family of English motorcyclist killed when hit by Italian car driver awarded seven figure damages sum

Specialist travel injury lawyers at Hudgell Solicitors have secured a seven figure damages sum for the family of a father-of-six who was killed when knocked off his motorbike in Italy.

Specialist travel injury lawyers at Hudgell Solicitors have secured a seven figure damages sum for the family of a father-of-six who was killed when knocked off his motorbike in Italy.

Damages were pursued on behalf of a large number of family members under Italian law following the fatal accident in Sardinia, in 2018.

The 72-year-old UK resident, who was on holiday at the time, died after being hit by a car driven by an Italian resident.

His family instructed Hudgell Solicitors to represent them, with insurers acting on behalf of the car driver initially denying liability for well over a year as criminal proceedings were also launched.

Italian accident reconstruction expert consulted

Paul McClorry, Head of Travel Litigation at Hudgell Solicitors, acted on behalf of the family and an Italian accident reconstruction expert was instructed to independently assess the case. An Italian lawyer was also instructed to represent the family in the criminal proceedings.

The accident reconstruction report and findings were submitted alongside others for consideration by the Italian criminal courts, where it was concluded that the car driver was 100% at fault.

That paved the way to secure an admission of liability for the accident from the Defendant insurer, ultimately leading to a settlement being agreed earlier this month, despite criminal proceedings remaining ongoing.

Under Italian law, damages awards for bereavement are significantly higher than in the UK, where the statutory amount is just £15,120, with the UK figure having only increased last month from £12,980.

Italian law also allows more relatives to be compensated, unlike UK laws which restrict bereavement damages to the spouse or civil partner of the deceased or, in cases involving the death of a child, their parents.

Settlement has ‘brought closure for all family’

Mr McClorry says that although money can never lessen the impact of losing a much loved family member, it is important for families to understand the benefits of instructing specialist lawyers in cases relating to serious injuries abroad.

“This was a very sad and complicated case but hopefully this settlement will have brought some closure. It was very important to all of the family to secure an admission of liability from those representing the car driver.

“The death of this hugely loved and respected man impacted greatly on a very close and loving family. He was a very much loved father, grandfather and brother. The settlement will just help everybody begin to look forward.

“They all faced so much upset and uncertainty given the accident happened in Italy, and especially given there was also an ongoing criminal investigation running alongside the civil case.

“In situations like this it can be quite overwhelming for families as they have to deal not only with the sudden devastating loss of a family member, but also find themselves faced with dealing with foreign lawyers, laws and lots of questions.

“It was essential that we were able to gather enough evidence to establish the car driver’s liability. It was also important to be able to reach a point where we had enough evidence to settle the civil claim, prior to criminal matters concluding.

“The experts we were able to instruct in Italian through our trusted network of international experts helped us bring the civil case to a much quicker conclusion for the benefit of the family.

“Given the accident happened in Italy, the claim for damages was settled under Italian law, and this has resulted in the man’s children, grandchildren and sibling receiving substantial damages.”

Trial in court avoided as settlement agreed in video hearing

The case had been set to go to a 5 day Trial in July of this year, but following the admission of liability, a joint settlement hearing was held via video link involving Mr McClorry, a leading barrister, family members and representatives of the Defendant insurers.

“Despite the reconstruction experts concluding that the car driver was 100% to blame for the accident, legal representatives for the defendant lawyers tried to settle the case initially at an 75% to 25% split on blame, which was insulting and we were simply not prepared to accept,” Mr McClorry added.

“The pleasing thing from this settlement has been that a large number of family members, including grandchildren, have come away from this process not only with quite significant damages but, more importantly, knowing that their loved one was not in any way at fault for what happened.

“Having spoken to the family, and being told about his background, personality and dedication to riding safely, I know that was of huge importance to them.”

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