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Lionel (instructed by Patrick Maguire and Amber Braybrooke of HCC Solicitors and led at the JSM by Simon Browne KC) represented a young claimant in a High Court spinal cord injury claim arising out of a high-speed collision in which his client had been rendered paraplegic.
The Claimant, who was 18 at the time of injury, was in a car being driven recklessly by an older friend, resulting in a crash in which the vehicle rolled multiple times. Primary liability was admitted but the insurers initially pursued contributory negligence arguments based on an alleged failure to wear a seatbelt (the Claimant having no recollection). This issue was conceded by the Defendants only once it became clear on the medical evidence that the violence and multi-directional forces involved would have made the injury equally, if not more, severe even if a seatbelt had been worn.
The case involved interesting issues of principle, including the extent to which the care regime should extend to offering greater independence, freedom of choice and autonomy – by enabling the Claimant to have an assistant on call 24 hours/day – rather than merely meeting his basic care needs (as the Defendants contended); and whether the past costs of a personal injury trust should be recoverable as a form of financial assistance in circumstances where, despite retaining capacity, the Claimant would have no feasible method of managing his unallocated interim payments without such assistance (the case of Martin v Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 532 (QB) having resolved the issue unfavourably to injured parties with capacity in respect of prospective trust costs only).
Settlement was achieved at a JSM against leading counsel on 29 November 2022 after exchange of evidence and fully pleaded schedules on a without prejudice basis. The settlement figure was commensurate with the Claimant’s contentions about the cost and quality of his current care needs, with the Claimant accepting a larger lump sum to invest rather than a VPPO.