CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN ROAD TRAFFIC CLAIMS: LITIGATION FRIENDS

mark_henley_ By Mark Henley

  1. Following on from my last blog (“Conflicts of Interest in Road Traffic Claims: Drivers and Passengers”), a number of my recent cases have also highlighted the need for claimant road traffic solicitors representing children to be careful to avoid any conflict of interest in their choice of Litigation Friends.
  2. Obviously, an adult driver against whom any allegation of negligence is made cannot act as the Litigation Friend of one of that driver’s own child passengers: as this would involve making settlement decisions about a claim in which the driver has an interest.
  3. Less obviously, an adult (driver or passenger) in a car in which it is alleged that there has been a failure to ensure that a child wears a seatbelt should not be chosen as Litigation Friend for such a child: as this adult could be added as a Part 20 Defendant in a claim for contribution to the child’s damages, and would then be making decisions about settlement which affected his own interests.
  4. Less obviously still, if a “low velocity impact” allegation is made against all occupants of a vehicle, in terms that none have suffered any genuine symptoms, then no adult (driver or passenger) in the vehicle should act as Litigation Friend for any child in the same vehicle, as this Litigation Friend’s own credibility about his own symptoms at trial would be relevant to the child’s claim, and so to making settlement decisions about it.
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