Leading insurance and risk law firm BLM, instructed by NIG, has successfully defended a noise induced hearing loss claim (NIHL) brought by Asons Solicitors. NIG instructed Dawn Frost of BLM and Andrew Roy of 12KBW to act on its behalf. Asons, one of the largest handlers of NIHL cases, was found to be "improper" and was ordered to pay the costs of the action.
In the case Higginson S v Higar Management Services Limited, heard at Bournemouth County Court, the claimant alleged to have been exposed to excessive noise while employed by the defendant as a machinist from 1986 to 2009.
Asons’ conduct was criticised as improper by District Judge Ainsworth on a number of accounts. Asons falsely threatened proceedings in an attempt to apply pressure on NIG, despite already having issued them. Asons also made factual statements on behalf of the claimant on the court record without letting the claimant know or checking the accuracy of those statements. Asons was described by the judge as "negligent" as there was no evidence that it had discussed the claimant’s medical history with him and therefore had failed to realise that it could not possibly have the full set of medical notes which were required to assess the cause and extent of the hearing loss claimed for. The claimant himself was not ordered to pay any costs, as there was no evidence to suggest that he had been dishonest.
Comment from Andrew West, BLM partner in the firm’s Southampton office
"This is a welcome result for NIG that works with BLM’s disease team in Southampton to successfully defend many deafness claims. The new costs regime (QOCS) normally protects the claimant from paying the defendant’s costs which enables unscrupulous claimant solicitors to take advantage of their protection by avoiding the risk of paying for unjustified claims. This exceptional award penalised one such improper firm of solicitors".