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22nd February 2019

Judge was scathing of insurers “Hired Gun” Defendant Expert

A Judge awarded damages to a Claimant in a case where a Defendant insurer had tried everything they could to try and defeat a diminution case. This included obtaining Defendant Expert evidence from a “Hired Gun” who was not even an expert in diminution.

Hired Gun

In the Judgement, the Judge ruled:

Under cross examination he [the Defendant Expert] conceded that he was not an expert on diminution. His report set out in terms the reasons he put forward for concluding that the Claimant lost the opportunity to sell the vehicle other than at a figure less than the pre accident value. However, when cross-examined about those reasons, he was reluctant to concede that those were indeed his reasons, even though his report said they were his reasons. He suggested that he had included certain matters because he thought to do so would assist the Court.”

The Judge went on to state:

“Since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules 14 years ago, we have moved away from what was traditionally referred to as experts being used as hired guns. The Defendant Experts Report came with an accompanying letter which was included within my bundle … It reads as follows “Have a look at the report which I have put together, which I have worded as strongly as I can against [the Claimant’s] report. Let me know what you think to the consumer law section ….”

Failed Diminution Defences

The Judge was far from impressed with the Defences raised by the Defendant, including a purchaser may have bought a vehicle cheaply, no loss can arise until the vehicle is sold, it might be sold at auction with no duty to disclose the accident history and that structural damage is a prerequisite to a diminution case. As expected, all the defences failed.

Clifford James Response

Insurers engaging in this type of tactic have been warned; the Court will not accept this behaviour and will take action where it is found. Emma Bell, a Director at Clifford James commenting on the Judgement said:

“It comes as no surprise that certain insurers will go to great lengths not to pay valid diminution cases. It beggars belief that they will go to such low levels to try and rebut valid claims. At Clifford James we stand up to these underhand tactics and promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means our client’s best interests.

If you believe that your car has lost value, please do not hesitate to call us on 0344 88 050 88 where we will be happy to investigate this for you.

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