Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder rkent06 Novitiate

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    Default Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Hi, im currently into my fourth month of a dispute between myself and leicestershire county council regarding an accident which damaged my car.

    Basically to cut a long story short, i hit a plastic bollard which had been pushed into the road by a lorry exiting a building site opposite. It was dark and the bollard was free of reflectors which are apparently a legal requirement ( i have photographic evidence of the bollards free of reflectors ). the accident broke my front bumper, i went down all the official routes of getting the repair work quoted-having a council representative inspect the vehicle etc. But as i suspected the council have denied liability, i have written two further letters contesting this but I'm just getting standard replies and not being taken seriously.

    The only way to resolve this situation seems to be with legal action, my insurance company say i'm unlikely to win as the courts and the councils are in each others pockets so to speak.

    I feel stuck, i want to stick to my guns and not pay out of my own pocket because i dont think its my fault. But on the other hand i dont want to take it to court if i'm wasting my time.

    If anyone has any advice for me it would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Regards
    Ross

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  2. #2
    Basic Account Holder BotB Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    What is the value of your claim?


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder rkent06 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    the amount of my claim is 450, which was a quote given by a vauxhall dealership.
    Regards
    Ross


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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Been in a similar situation myself, although against a private company, not the council.

    My insurance company hired solicitors after I complained that they had not pursued my claim, but were advised (as I was) not to pursue the claim as they/I would probably lose. I'm fully comp so the car was fixed but I paid £200 excess and £350 for a hired estate car (the Daewoo Matiz they offered at no further cost to me was not big enough to carry all my equipment in and the insurance company verbally gave me the go ahead to hire what I needed because I would get it back); it cost me a further £360.

    I'm not going to hijack another thread but I was just wondering; don't we have the right to expect the insurance company to at least fight the claim rather than just "give up", regardless of the probability of them losing? Isn't that what we are paying for?

    I didn't concede, they did. They should reimburse me, and all of us in a similar situation.


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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    my insurance company say i'm unlikely to win as the courts and the councils are in each others pockets so to speak.
    And how would the insurance company know that? Are we in conspiracy theory country now?
    Whereas I could believe it in small villages where the mayor and the local JP (if not one and the same) used to eat at each other's table and do one another favours, I doubt very much that this is still the case, or certainly not in such an open way.

    What I do believe is that your insurance company don't want to get involved into such a small claim. Are you fully comp? Or do I get the feeling you're TPFT?

    Either way, it's nonsense. If your insurance company refuses to get involved, sue the coucil (small claimsicon, not expensive), and complain to the Insurance Ombudsmanicon about your insurance. It seems to me they're failing in their fiduciary obligation towards you by not defending YOUR interests when YOU're the client.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Is it possible to take the council to a county courticon?

    I didn't think it was, as it's a 'government agency' or some such rubbish.

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    And that makes the council above the law? Can't see it meself.


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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    I really should know the answer to this but I'm not absolutely certain.

    However, I'm pretty sure Crown Immunity doesn't apply in general to local councils. If it did, people wouldn't be constantly suing over paving stone trips. Whether it would apply in this case is something I don't know.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Local Councils definitely do not have immunity from legal proceedings.

    Your insurers' comments that the Courts and the Council are in league with each other is silly, its not worth commenting on further. The insurers don't want to do anything because it will cost them about three times as much as the value of the claim - it would be cheaper to just give you the 450.00.

    However, the same applies to the Council. Even if you lost the case, it would have cost them more to defend it than the value of the claim. So you could try.
    I'm not sure on the facts you've given where the evidence of liability is though. It was a council lorry? and a council bollard ? and you or a reliable witness saw the bollard being knocked into the road? This being a negligent act by the local authority who should have known the bollard was there and wouldn't be seen by motorists? Its a tricky one.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    hi and thanks for all the helpful support.

    Today i spoke to my insurance company and made it clear that i was looking to persue the case even if my chances were poor. They were actually more helpful this time and said that i could persue legal action and not have to make a claim even if i was found to be at fault.

    I am going to write a further letter to the council explaining my intentions to take legal action-this is my last attempt to get them to pay up before it goes through the legal team at my insurance company.

    I will keep you updated on what happens with the case but thanks to anyone who has posted on it, only just started using the site but already finding it extremely useful.

    Regards, Ross


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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by seminole
    I really should know the answer to this but I'm not absolutely certain.

    However, I'm pretty sure Crown Immunity doesn't apply in general to local councils. If it did, people wouldn't be constantly suing over paving stone trips. Whether it would apply in this case is something I don't know.
    Quite right. Except in my case, it was a hole left by a removed wooden post, filled with leaves from the previous autumn (this was in May, and I had my then 5 weeks old baby in my arms) in which I tripped and broke my ankle. And baby bumped his head against kerb. Still makes me shudder when I think of it.
    Before the days of no claim, no fee, still went for it. Hole was filled within 1 week of lodging my complaint. Got just over 4k for ankle, which was nowhere near the hassle it caused me, but there you go. Councils are definitely not immune from county courticon claims.

    Just passing through, don't mind me...!
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  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder rkent06 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    I agree that they're not immune and the points about personal injury claims are valid but in a way thats part of whats annoying me.

    A more dishonest person might have claimed injury from the accident (granted there are many valid injury claims but there are also many dubious ones) but i have never tried to do this.

    i consider myself to be an honest decent person who is just looking to repair the damage to my car which i feel was caused by someone else's negligence nothing more nothing less.


  13. #13
    Basic Account Holder Drivewasher Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by rkent06
    Today i spoke to my insurance company and made it clear that i was looking to persue the case even if my chances were poor. They were actually more helpful this time and said that i could persue legal action and not have to make a claim even if i was found to be at fault.

    I am going to write a further letter to the council explaining my intentions to take legal action-this is my last attempt to get them to pay up before it goes through the legal team at my insurance company.
    Why don't your insurers, or thier legal dept; write the letter?


  14. #14
    Basic Account Holder rkent06 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by Drivewasher
    Why don't your insurers, or thier legal dept; write the letter?
    Going to give it one last go, already had a letter written so i might as well give them one last chance.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    I have in the past sued the council for a personal injury claim ( a genuine one lol ) and won .So yes you can sue the council they don't have imunity.


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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by Drivewasher
    Why don't your insurers, or thier legal dept; write the letter?
    One reason may be that you have to pay them extra because of a reduction in any NCD.


  17. #17
    Basic Account Holder rkent06 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    my insurance company have assured me that even if they are unsuccesful i will not be obligated to make a claim against my insurance and will not lose any no claims bonus. i think this is the best result i could have hoped for-lets just hope i have some success.


  18. #18
    Basic Account Holder thecornflake Novitiate

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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Reading a book I have on litigation in general -

    Public authorities definitely have to act within the law, and can be taken to the high court for judicial review, which is where they have 'acted improperly in exercising their powers'. This specific case can only be taken to the high court.

    I don't think your case would be an application for judicial review though so I see no reason why you can't take them to small claimsicon. Plus you wouldn't have much to lose anyway by doing this.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by dave
    Is it possible to take the council to a county courticon?

    I didn't think it was, as it's a 'government agency' or some such rubbish.
    Oh indeed it is.
    If it wasn't then the firm I work for would be totally stuffed.

    People sue local authorities, education authorities, health authoirities and police authorities for any number of reasons ranging from medical negligence to bullying to tripping over a wonky pavement.

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  20. #20
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    Smile Re: Taking action against local council-any help appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by seminole
    I really should know the answer to this but I'm not absolutely certain.

    However, I'm pretty sure Crown Immunity doesn't apply in general to local councils. If it did, people wouldn't be constantly suing over paving stone trips. Whether it would apply in this case is something I don't know.
    Hi You can sue your council but the court will have expected you to exhaust every avenue.

    Crown Immunity does not apply to such authorties & the government has waived its rights to allow for civil action in many other areas. You still can't sue the Queen

    If your a past or present service person you can even sue the armed forces for negligence



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