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34 year old Police Officer recovered £600,000 net of contributory negligence for the consequences of a brain injury sustained in a motorcycle accident. Marcus Grant (instructed by Nigel Mills of New Law Solicitors) appeared for the Claimant.
In September 2012 the Claimant, then a Sergeant in the Police Service, on his case sustained a closed head injury with suspected diffuse axonal injury and some bony injuries in a motorcycle accident when the Defendant began to turn across his path, changed his mind and stopped blocking part of the carriageway. The Defendant alleged tcontributory negligence against the Claimant for riding at 13.5 mph above the 50 mph speed limit, and for capsizing his motorcycle whilst braking. After the accident the Claimant received first rate rehabilitation through the Rehabilitation Code by reason of the proactive steps taken by the Defendant’s Insurer, the Liverpool Victoria. The Claimant returned to modified duties four months post accident and passed his Inspector exams and secured successive postings as an Acting Inspector in non-front line jobs. He struggled and exhibited increasing signs of anxiety and fatigue as he attempted to cope with the cognitive demands of his work. Adjustments were made by his employer that included placing him on an 80% contract and ensuring that he did not work night shifts or on call so that he could regularise his sleep patterns. At the date of settlement, 4 years post-accident he was still in his adjusted duties role, but it remained uncertain whether he would be able to cope with it into the medium and long term. One of the issues between the Parties was the feasibility of him seeking a less pressurised role as a non-operational Sergeant which he was unwilling to countenance. Issues of mitigation of loss were raised by the Defendant in addition to challenging the diagnosis and prognosis provided by the Claimant’s medico-legal team. The Defendant’s battery of neurological experts sought to minimise the organic component of his persisting symptoms and considered that his condition would likely improve with the litigation settled and the current support structure of ongoing treatment with a neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist and neuropsychiatrist being ‘diplomatically withdrawn’. The bulk of the settlement award comprised future loss of earning capacity.
The £600,000 net of the contributory negligence allegation was the product of a negotiation between the Parties, weighing up the credibility, vulnerability and causation risks on the facts of the case.