X v. Y (Unrep) 05.03.19
5th March 2019
£1.84 m settlement for a 45-year-old man who suffered a ceiling collapse on his head.
Simon Browne QC and Marcus Grant represented the Claimant who was left with enduring neuro-psychiatric and vestibular symptoms.
C was aged 39 at the time of the accident. He was the principal breadwinner for his family. He had a pre-accident history of psychological vulnerability and a period of alcohol dependency a few years before the accident.
After the accident he developed a cluster of symptoms that included impaired memory, heightened fatigue and irritability and impaired balance coupled with headaches and tinnitus. He attempted to continue working for roughly a year after the accident in a demanding job. From the anniversary of the accident his condition deteriorated as he became increasingly isolated from the world around him. He gained weight, developed tics and a speech and movement disorder and his ability to mobilise was significantly compromised by impaired balance and obesity.
A prolonged period of in-patient treatment in a head injury unit failed to break the deadlock in his symptoms. The principal diagnoses to explain his presentation were functional neurological disorder compounded by the consequences of a concussive head injury, probably including an element of DAI and damage to his peripheral vestibular system.
On his case, the prognosis was very guarded and he needed support from a case manager and a support worker and lacked capacity to litigate.
The Defendant was suspicious of C’s presentation throughout and found it hard to attribute his florid presentation to the objectively modest blow to his head. It attributed his presentation in part to prior vulnerability and questioned whether there was a volitional element to his presentation; whatever, the precise aetiology of his cluster of symptoms, the Defendant was optimistic that there was a good chance of a full recovery with treatment outside the constraints imposed by the litigation. The Defendant did not accept that the presumption of capacity was displaced.
The settlement reflected a compromise between the Parties’ respective positions.