A woman’s personal injury claim against Police Scotland has been allowed by the Court of Session to go ahead, 18 years after the accident took place.
Anji Mannas was injured on 20 January 2001 when she was a rear seat passenger in a car that was hit by a Police Scotland van responding to an emergency call while waiting to turn right. Her injuries were minor, but she feels that she has “severe and continuing psychological injuries” as a result of the accident.
The action was originally raised in 2004, but was sisted to enable her to apply for legal aid. Although legal aid was granted in May 2004, the action remained sisted until January 2017.
Police Scotland attempted to have the action dismissed under Rule 21A of the Court of Session rules, which allows for the dismissal of a claim due to “inordinate and inexcusable delay”. They argued that there had been an inordinate and inexcusable delay by the Ms Mannas’ solicitors in raising in the action, and that allowing the action to go ahead would amount to unfairness to them in terms of defending liability and quantum. The pursuer countered that the action should not be dismissed as Police Scotland had not been left unable to defend the action, and the case itself was straightforward.
Lord Tyre decided that the action should not be dismissed as a fair trial was “not impossible”. He acknowledged that the significant amount of time that has lapsed since the accident occurred would cause problems for all parties, but pointed out that the burden would be on Ms Mannas to prove her case and that if the court were to find any evidence too unreliable to permit critical findings to be made then it would be more likely to prejudice her rather than Police Scotland.
In most cases, personal injury actions must be raised within 3 years of the date of the accident, however the action can be sisted, or paused, once it has been raised to allow time for further investigation. If the time bar is very close by the time someone starts thinking about raising a personal injury action, it can be best to take this course of action in order to protect their right to claim.
Cases like this one are not the norm, but it is important to take the advice of an experienced and diligent solicitor in dealing with timescale issues in personal injury claims. Jackson Boyd’s specialist team of personal injury solicitors can be contacted on 0333 060 5725.