20th September 2018
James Arney, instructed by Grant Incles from Leigh Day, appeared on behalf of a 43-year-old Claimant who suffered a below the knee amputation following a road traffic accident when travelling as a front seat passenger. Damages were secured for future loss at £4.1 million.
Liability was admitted and the action for personal injury and consequential financial losses was a quantum issue only. William Audland QC, 12 King’s Bench Walk, appeared on behalf of the Defendant.
The Claimant was awarded costs for 5 different prosthetics including: a primary microprocessor limb, an alternate everyday limb with cosmesis, a water activity limb, a running blade and ski limb.
The Claimant was also awarded sports massage therapy (claimed at £72,626) for life, in addition to physiotherapy and other treatments.
It was accepted that it was reasonable to award additional costs of flight upgrades for the Claimant and her family (based on one long haul and two short haul flights per year). The Claimant’s submission was accepted that the Claimant would in her uninjured state have travelled with her husband and children and it is reasonable to permit her to do the same in her injured condition. Costs included the additional costs of the children’s upgrade to their age of 18, including costs for a child not yet conceived (£243,877 awarded).
This case marked only the second reported occasion on which the Court has been asked to consider accommodation claims in the context of negative discount rates.
Both parties accepted that the Claimant would need to move home because of her injuries, but damages in respect of the additional capital cost of the purchase were disputed. Given the current negative discount rate to be applied for the purposes of calculating multipliers for future losses, the Claimant would, adopting the Roberts v Johnstone formulation, recover a nil award in respect of the £900,000 additional capital costs of special accommodation.
The Claimant presented several alternatives, included both lump sum and PPO-based options. Mrs Justice Lambert held that she was bound by Roberts v Johnstone and had no choice but to make a nil award.
Permission to appeal was granted on this specific issue (appeal papers have since been lodged).