The true value of cross-departmental collaboration was showcased by HF in a recent claim, saving Admiral over £64,000.

Following a road traffic collision on 8 March 2020, the Claimant brought an action for damages which included credit hire charges of £27,000, the pre-accident value of his vehicle of £972 and recovery and storage costs of £1,300.

In just three days, the credit hire charges alone had already amounted to the equivalent pre-accident value of his vehicle.

At trial the Claimant was able to prove that he needed a replacement vehicle but very little else. The Claimant allegedly helped with repairing his vehicle, but he wasn’t able to recall when the work was carried out, how much it cost or able to provide an invoice in support.

The Judge found that repairs should have been finalised within seven days and dismissed the claim for recovery and storage due to insufficient evidence. The Claimant was awarded £2,500 for hire and vehicle damage.

As a result of the award, the Claimant sought his costs from Admiral, amounting to £32,000. HF’s costs and counter fraud teams worked together to look at the overall claim, arguing that as the true value of fell comfortably below the Small Claims Track (SCT) limit of £10,000, the Claimant should have his costs assessed accordingly. Proposed costs were around £1,000.

The Claimant disagreed and instructed his solicitors to take the case to detailed assessment, incurring a further £8,000 in the process. HF maintained that Admiral had been exposed, wrongly, to a disproportionate cost burden due to the over-pleading of the claim’s true value and that there was a good reason to reallocate to the SCT.

The Judge agreed with HF’s arguments, reallocating the claim to the SCT and awarding the Claimant just £911 which included disallowing the engineer’s report fee because the Claimant had elected not to rely on the engineer as an expert.

Maximising the benefits of HF’s broad expertise and collaborative approach across departments saved Admiral just over £26,000 on the damages claimed and a whopping £38,000 in costs.

Graeme Mulvoy, Partner, HF said, “We’re really pleased that the judiciary took a pragmatic approach to this case, both when dealing with the damages claim and the costs. The Claimant decided not to rely on the engineering evidence he had obtained and didn’t provide a repair invoice – two issues which are common. It’s good to see that wasn’t tolerated at trial and Admiral did not have to pay the engineer’s fee”.

Paul McCarthy, Head of Costs, HF added, “It’s crucial that we work closely with all our lawyers when we handle costs for our clients and even more so, when we run arguments that cross the divide between damages and costs. It’s great to see that collaboration pay off and to achieve excellent savings for Admiral.

Ryan Lewis, Head of Credit Hire, Admiral commented “We’re very satisfied that the amount paid on this claim has been reduced to a fraction of what was claimed. Had this claim been presented for its true value, we would have paid it quickly. Admiral will continue to challenge the claims that are submitted at a wholly disproportionate level and settle the ones that are reasonable.”