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James Arney KC secures £6.4m contributory negligence reduction in tetraplegic claim

20th September 2022

James Arney KC, instructed for the Defendant by Horwich Farrelly, settled a tetraplegic RTA claim with a substantial reduction for both failing to wear a seatbelt and the Claimant allowing himself to be driven by someone impaired through alcohol consumption.  Key quantum issues included life expectancy, double-up care, CCG funding and the cost of alternative accommodation.

James Arney KC represented the Defendant in JSM negotiations arising from an RTA in which the then 17-year old claimant was an unseat-belted rear passenger of a car which rolled 270 degrees being driven by a newly qualified driver who was impaired by alcohol.  The Defendant contended throughout that the combined effect of seatbelt and alcohol merited a 30% reduction for contributory negligence.  Despite the claimant challenging both causation in respect of the seatbelt failing and negligence in respect of the driver’s intoxication, post-settlement comments from those representing the claimant are consistent with the 30% reduction ultimately being accepted.  With settlement at a net figure of £15m, the contributory negligence deduction amounted to over £6.4m.

Other key issues in the case included: –

  • Life expectancy, with the Defendant adducing expert evidence from a life expectancy expert explaining why the Claimant’s spinal injury would lower his life expectancy below that advised by the spinal experts.
  • Care, with the Defendant’s care expert challenging the Claimant’s contention that 24/7 double up care would be required.
  • Considering the extent to which credit should be given in respect of the £212k per annum CCG funding currently received by the Claimant.
  • Accommodation, with significant challenge being raised to the Claimant’s proposed alternative housing adaptations.

The JSM was a fitting last working commitment of the Defendant’s solicitor, Rod Evans.  We wish him a long and happy retirement.

Related Barristers

James Arney KC

James Arney KC
Year of Call: 1992
Year of Silk: 2021