A nightclub injury claim has been successful despite insurance shortfall
Our client made a nightclub injury claim after she slipped on drinks spillage at Sin City, a nightclub in Swansea, resulting in her suffering a broken ankle.
The club’s insurers initially denied liability for the accident, as is often the case with such claims. Nevertheless, after thorough investigation by our lawyers and some tough negotiation, the club eventually admitted they were at fault and agreed to pay a fair sum of compensation to our client for her injuries. However, it was then that the trouble really started. The nightclub had gone into liquidation and its insurers wanted to deduct the £1,000 excess on its policy from the amount of compensation they had agreed to pay to our client.
Usually, even if there is an insurance excess, this would not affect the claimant in a personal injury claim. In practice, the insurers would pay the full amount of compensation agreed and claim back the excess from their insured. Legally, the insurers are only obliged to indemnify their insured; ie. to stand in their shoes and pay any money on their behalf. It was therefore arguable that in this case, the insurers were only obliged to pay the net amount and the club would have to pay the excess, leaving our client £1,000 out of pocket and with no realistic chance of getting that money back from the liquidator of the club.
After some more hard bargaining, we managed to agree with the insurers that they would increase their overall offer to offset this unfairness to our client and guarantee her the full amount.
This particular problem is on the rise in claims where the defendant is a firm, a business or a limited company. As more businesses go bust, innocent injury claimants are suddenly left facing a shortfall on their rightful compensation, even when the defendant is covered by insurance.