For those unaware, a LOCUS report is a formal document made up of various other pieces of evidence that is designed to explain and identify the physical facts of how and where an accident or incident has occurred. The overall document when broken down will contain things such as sketch plans, photographs, localised pertinent intelligence and the authoring agent’s written report. In our area of work within private investigation, they are most commonly used in legal cases such as insurance claims and defence cases pertaining to road traffic collisions and accidents resulting in injury.
On one such case relating to LOCUS reporting, our client was referred to us by their solicitor as they were currently facing a substantial civil claim from a third party driver they’d been in an accident with and who was claiming the accident was our client’s fault due to driving without due care and attention.
The client claimed that they had simply looked to make sure a normally busy road with a speed limit of 60mph was clear and that the approaching vehicle was definitively turning left into where they were, before pulling out of the junction they themselves were stationary at.
The third party states that they were travelling at 40mph on a 40mph an hour road when our client pulled out in front of them without care and caused them to collide into the side of her. The client argued that the third party overtook a car that was in front of them at a speed in excess of 60mph and hit her as she was pulling out slowly from the junction.
Both cars were written off. Police attended but did not fulfil the minimum requirements for an RTC investigation, securing of evidence and instead simply made both parties exchange details before clearing the scene and re-opening the road without ever breathalysing either driver. Despite making no proclamations of injury to the police or ambulances ever being called, the third party was now claiming our client had caused them to now ‘live on crutches’ and have to “give up work”.
The client’s insurance company were all set to accept liability on her behalf without any investigation even though they’d accepted that the police report from the scene was “less than sufficient”. We were asked by the client and their solicitor to provide an independent analysis of the crash site, assess the third party’s claims and to make localised enquiries. The solicitor was most annoyed at the police and the client’s insurer because the third party was claiming there was no such ‘other’ vehicle that they had overtook yet the client had secured a registration, make and model that the police and the insurer had made no effort to locate.
The first thing we did was secure the lay-out of the road and affirm its speed restrictions, markings and last point of recorded maintenance. We then visited the scene itself and photographed it from both directions of impact from 100m out up until the point of impact. We noted signage, junction points, positions of notes and took some video footage of visibility at the time of day/night the incident occurred. We completed a sketch plan based off what our client had told us and then a second sketch plan off what the third party was alleging.
In the first instance, we were able to confirm that the road itself WAS a 60mph road and not a 40mph road that the third party claimed. We then carried out timed drills at the speed the third party claimed they were travelling at when they say they impacted with our client – and it was just impossible for them to bend round on to this stretch of road, not see the unobstructed view of the junction ahead, have no time to acknowledge the client’s vehicle even if it HAD pulled out the way they say it did, hit it in the manner they did causing the client to spin uncontrollably for just shy of 50 metres down the road… all at 40mph ‘straight’ on a curve!
To put it simply, nothing about what the third party was telling their ‘no win no fee’ representative was in keeping with the reality of the location and it felt like they were taking advantage of the fact no one was fact-checking their allegation.
We then made a written submission through our local police service to have a contact request made to the registered owner of the noted ‘other’ vehicle. Just over a week later, they got in touch with us independently and confirmed that not only were they at the scene and verified what our client had said all along but that they had stopped, checked everyone was alright and given their contact information to the original reporting officer – whilst stating on record that the third party was driving at excessive speed for a 60mph road! Incredulous!
We compiled our LOCUS report and submitted it back to our client. Their solicitor got in touch with us and asked us to submit a further statement formally documenting our belief of cause. The case against our client was subsequently dropped by the third party and the client successfully appealed for her insurance company to not accept liability on her behalf for the accident.
For more about the LOCUS reports we offer alongside other insurer and insured support services, click here.