BECTU member Dave Williams has secured £4,000 in compensation following a road traffic accident on the M40. The studio rigger from High Wycombe secured the compensation with the support of BECTU’s free legal assistance scheme and union lawyers Thompsons.

The accident took place at junction 2 of the M40 in August 2005. Mr Williams was stationary at the roundabout exiting eastbound from the M40 when another driver drove into the rear of his vehicle. Mr Williams suffered a whiplash injury and was off work for 3 weeks following the accident. A claim was made against the other driver’s insurance.

Independent Legal Advice

The claim demonstrates the importance of union members using their union’s legal service for non-work related accidents. Motor insurance companies are increasingly referring claimants to their own panel solicitors, who may not provide the same independent legal advice as trade union solicitors.

Dave Williams explains: “Before the accident I was unaware that my union membership covered road traffic accidents as well as accidents at work. The specialist support provided by BECTU and their solicitors Thompsons was excellent. I doubt I would have had such good legal representation and secured so much compensation if I’d simply used the solicitors offered by my insurer.”

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU Assistant General Secretary comments: "We are increasingly concerned at the way in which insurers organise legal representation for members without asking them if they are union members and then pointing out that they are entitled to legal representation through their union. We hope that cases such as Dave Williams’ will help to raise awareness that BECTU provides high quality legal advice and representation for work and non-work related accidents and injuries, and that family members are also covered for non-work related accidents including road traffic accidents.“

Angela Smart from Thompsons Solicitors in London comments: “Whiplash is probably the most common type of injury sustained following a road traffic accident. In Mr Williams’ case, the medical evidence obtained led to a swift and satisfactory settlement with the insurers.”