05 July, 2016
Wood v Days Health UK Ltd and others  EWHC 1079 (QB) (9 May 2016)
A defendant has been refused permission to withdraw a pre-action admission of liability in a personal injury claim concerning an alleged faulty wheelchair.
The first defendant admitted liability, but subsequently sought to resile from the admission when it came to light that another defendant had modified the wheelchair.
The Court considered the matters specified in PD 14.7 and all the relevant circumstances. The Judge held that the real ground for the application was an increase in the value of the claim and commented that was a risk inherent in any personal injury claim and it did not justify resiling from the admission. There had been no new evidence to justify the admission being withdrawn. It had been made after the first defendant had inspected the wheelchair; had the first defendant carried out a detailed investigation then it would have discovered the modifications by the other defendant.
It is often difficult to withdraw from a pre-action admission. In this instance, the court also found that the first defendant had delayed in seeking to withdraw the admission. This case demonstrates the importance of thorough investigations and the need to make applications to withdraw an admission of liability promptly.