Lionel acts for claimants and defendants in all areas of personal injury. He is the current editor of the Accidents Abroad chapter in Bingham’s Personal Injury and Motor Claims Cases and regularly instructed as sole counsel in seven figure fatal and catastrophic injury cases at home and abroad, the latter being associated with jurisdictional (application of the Brussels Regulations) and/or applicable law (Rome II) issues.
Lionel has particular experience in claims involving polytrauma, spinal cord and brain injuries and/or other significant disability. His case load encompasses injury arising out of defective products and he has developed a niche practice in aviation-related claims. These include cases arising out of serious bodily injury following domestic or international aviation accidents, as well as fatal and serious injury claims arising out of light aircraft accidents. Recent work has included representing families in claims arising out of the Shoreham Air Disaster (and advising on generic issues relating to potential group litigation); representing dependents of relatives killed in the Germanwings disaster, in respect of which there were significant disputes as to applicable law, jurisdiction and quantification; and the High Court case of Labbadia, which clarifies the scope of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Barclay v British Airways PLC  EWCA Civ 1419.
As part of his cross-over health and safety/injury practice, Lionel is currently advising and representing a cohort of families in group litigation arising out of the Grenfell Fire. He also acts on behalf of companies facing prosecution or civil claims due to alleged breaches of health & safety legislation on construction sites or in other work environments.
Lionel’s regular practice extends to cases involving complex issues of causation arising from subtle brain injuries, the onset of rheumatological conditions and non-organic pain (including complex regional pain syndrome, FND, chronic pain, post-traumatic fibromyalgia and somataform/somatic symptom disorders).
Featured Personal Injury cases
A (a minor) v B & WMA
High Court spinal cord injury claim. Lionel (instructed by Joseph Dodman and Patrick Maguire at HCC) is representing a teenage boy who has suffered a C5 incomplete SCI in an accident at school following a playfight in circumstances where there was inadequate supervision of the students, compounded by delayed treatment. Liability and quantum remain in dispute.
B v T
High Court spinal cord injury claim. Lionel (instructed by Phillip Andrews at Scooters & Bikes Legal) is representing a young man who suffered a T3/T4 SCI in a motorcycling accident during a filtering manoeuvre. Liability and quantum remain in dispute but the parties are working together to put in place an appropriate rehabilitation package.
S v B & C
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.
M v K & E
Lionel (instructed by Tony McLoughlin at Horwich Farrelly) represented the Defendant in a complex and challenging High Court case involving a motorcyclist who sustained multiple lower limb injuries putting him at risk of amputation. The case was pleaded at close to £3million on a provisional damages’ basis. The parties adopted a constructive approach, balancing the disputes as to prognosis, amputation risk and quantification with recognition of the serious nature of the injuries and the benefit to both sides of early resolution. Consequently, the parties were able to reach agreement at a JSM for damages on a provisional basis at a little over £1million.
B v R
Lionel (instructed by Rebecca Smith at Stewarts and closely assisted by James Arney QC in preparation for the mediation) represented the passenger (a qualified pilot) in a High Court claim arising out of a light aircraft accident, allegedly caused by the negligence of the pilot in command. The pilot undertook an orbit rather than a go-around at too low an altitude and speed, causing the aircraft to stall and crash. The Claimant, a successful businessman, suffered a spinal cord injury and is now a paraplegic. His claim included lifelong care, accommodation, a range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs, together with walking aids, and a significant claim for loss of profit and the capital value of his business (which he had to sell at an undervalue as part of a management buyout due to the need to take early retirement).
The Defendant’s insurers denied liability, contending that the manoeuvre was not negligent and the pilot acted reasonably to avoid conflict with another aircraft; that the Claimant was equally culpable because he was effectively operating as a co-pilot or functioning member of the crew, assisting the pilot with any observations; and/or that he had consented to the risk of injury and/or the manoeuvre performed. Quantum was also fiercely disputed, despite the severity of the injury, with focused challenge to the claim for loss of profit and capital value. The claim settled at circa £4 million (i.e., at or close to the indemnity limit on the insurance policy), the Claimant electing not to pursue the pilot for any additional sum.
S v K
Lionel represented the Defendant (instructed by Simon Curtis at Horwich Farrelly) in a complex chronic pain case pleaded at over £750,000. The Claimant contended that she had developed a permanent Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) following a serious motorcycle accident in which she had suffered a comminuted leg fracture. She claimed that her injuries had led directly to premature retirement as a nurse and that she would continue to require extensive rehabilitation and professional assistance. In addition to questions of quantification, the critical issue was causation, the Claimant having presented with similar but more minor functional problems prior to her injury that did not affect her ability to work at that stage. After successfully resisting the Claimant’s application for additional expert evidence, the matter settled at a JSM for an all-inclusive figure for costs and damages that reflected the strength of the Defendant’s case on causation and the clear risk posed to the Claimant from an old Part 36 Offer.
M v P
Lionel represented the Defendant (instructed by Neil Southern and Katy Marsden at Clyde & Co) in a chronic pain case pleaded at £1.3 million. The Claimant contended that she had developed a permanent somatising chronic pain condition and delusional disorder that prevented her from working after a pedestrian accident. She lacked capacity due to the severity of her condition and a deputy had been appointed. However, she had a complex psychiatric history and the critical issue in the case was how, when and to what extent this would have manifested in future. The matter settled for a low six figure sum at around 10% of the pleaded value at a JSM.
B v H
Lionel represented the Defendant (instructed by John Lezemore and Carley Howett at DWF) in a fibromyalgia case pleaded at around £2.85 million. The Claimant contended that she had developed a permanent and significant aggravation of pre-existing fibromyalgia and a (new) SSD that had prevented her from returning to work as a teacher. The claim assumed that she would continue to require significant care and housing adaptations. In addition to questions of quantification, the critical issue was causation, including whether and if so when she would have become similarly disabled in future. The matter settled for a low six-figure sum at less than 10% of the pleaded value of the claim following an all-day JSM.
Vincent v Walker  EWHC 536 (QB)
High Court split liability (remote) trial involving a seriously injured claimant. The judgment clarifies the scope of a driver’s duty of care (in terms of the speed, adjustments and observations required) when driving on a 50mph road and approaching a toucan crossing.
C v C
Lionel represented the Claimant (instructed by Steven Pollard and Martyn Steele at Your Lawyers) in a High Court case that settled on the doorstep of trial for circa £1.6 million on a full liability basis. The Claimant, who had pre-existing vulnerability, required multiple operations on her knees following an injury sustained at the Defendant’s premises. She had been left with intrusive disability and a need for further surgery, including a knee replacement with attendant risk of future amputation. The Defendant challenged causation and contended that the injury had not materially altered the course of her pre-existing knee condition. The settlement reflected the merits of the Claimant’s case on this issue but with an agreed discount for contributory negligence and the risk that she would have in time developed a similar condition in any event.
K v M
Lionel represented the Claimant (instructed by Michael Hardacre at Slater & Gordon) in a High Court case that settled at a JSM for £1.6 million. The Claimant was involved in a high-speed collision that fatally injured his brother. He suffered multiple injuries, including compound splintered fracturing at the proximal end of the ulna bone (olecranon), with bone loss involving the articular surface of the ulna at the elbow; and displaced, comminuted fracturing at the shafts of the radius and ulna. The left elbow fracture had failed to unite, which meant that he would need complex surgery and, further in the future, an elbow replacement and revision procedures. It was eventually conceded that the Claimant could not return to his job as an air conditioning engineer but there remained significant dispute as to his pre- and post-injury earning capacity. The claim ultimately settled at a pre-trial JSM on 21 July 2020 on the basis that he would need life-long care and assistance; is now only likely to be capable of part-time minimum wage employment; and should be considered fully (i.e., at least ‘averagely’) disabled for the purpose of calculating his claim for loss of earning capacity using the disabled Reduction Factors in the Ogden 8 actuarial tables.
E v A (insurer) and S (gym, in administration)
Lionel represented the Claimant (instructed by Michael Hardacre at Slater & Gordon) in a High Court paraplegia case that settled at a JSM for £1.525 million. The Claimant was injured after stumbling and falling while using a squat rack in a ‘Free Weights’ gym, which resulted in a crush injury to his spine from the barbell that he had been lifting. There were no safety bars on the squat rack at the material time and it was the Claimant’s case that he had not been told how or why to use them. It was therefore alleged that the gym had failed to warn him of the need to use the safety bars with an induction or warning signs and had failed to risk assess or provide health & safety training to its staff to enable an effective induction to take place. The Claimant relied in part on three Improvement Notices that had been issued to the gym after the accident for breaches of sections 2 and 3 of the HSWA 1974. Liability remained firmly in dispute: the Defendant contended that the Claimant was an experienced user of the gym and that it had discharged its duty by, among other things, providing safety bars and informing the Claimant that he should ask if unsure of how to use any lifting equipment. Further, although the full value of the claim was significantly higher (pleaded provisionally at £11.2 million), there was a ‘costs and damages’ indemnity limit on the public liability insurance policy of £2 million that would have served as a maximum cap on the amount of any judgment, although, if successful at trial, it was the Claimant’s intention to seek a non-party costs order (or suitable equivalent) against the insurer for payment of costs in excess of the indemnity limit under CPR 46.2 and section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 on the basis that they were, in reality, defending the claim in their own interests (in accordance with the principles in T.G.A Chapman Ltd v Christopher  1 WLR 12 (CA) and Palmer v Palmer  EWCA Civ 46). The insurer was also being pursued directly for a declaration of liability under section 2 of the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010.
A v T & Aviva
Lionel represented the Defendant (instructed by Daniel Jordon at DWF) in a High Court chronic pain case originally pleaded at £2 million. The Claimant contended that she had developed a permanent somatising condition that prevented her from working after suffering a fractured ankle. There were serious credibility issues as a result of previous documented instances of dishonesty and the Defendant disputed the credibility of the Claimant’s account, causation and the negative prognosis. The case also involved issues of how future earning capacity should be assessed where there is predisposition to similar disability. The matter settled for a confidential low six figure sum well below the pleaded value at a JSM.
T v C & Ors
High Court claim in which Lionel (instructed by Rebecca Smith and Julie Straughan at Irwin Mitchell) acted on behalf of the dependants of a pilot and his wife, who tragically died in light aircraft crash in 2015. The primary claim (pleaded at over £4 million) was brought against the constructor, kit and engine providers and Light Aircraft Association in negligence and/or under the CPA. The secondary claim adopted the defences of the primary defendants and was brought in negligence on behalf of the dependents of the wife against the estate of the pilot. Breach of duty, causation and quantum all remained in dispute, complicated by expert aviation, engineering and metallurgical evidence from the Defendants challenging the conclusions of an AAIB investigation. Settlement was achieved after a 13-hour mediation. The contributing parties and amount of the settlement remain confidential.
S v Godwin
Lionel represented the Defendant (instructed by Christine Winter at DWF) in a High Court brain and eye injury case pleaded at over £4 million. The Claimant, at the time a minor, was blinded by an airgun that misfired. It was alleged that he lacked capacity due to a brain injury sustained in the accident and an application for the appointment of a deputy was made to the Court of Protection. The case was complicated by the Claimant’s troubled history and behavioural issues related to family trauma: there was significant dispute as to the Claimant’s likely trajectory absent his eye injury, as well as the extent to which his prospects had genuinely been limited by his condition. The Defendant also disputed his brain injury. The matter settled for a confidential six-figure sum well below the pleaded value at a JSM.
Labbadia v Alitalia  EWHC 2103 (Admin)
Successfully represented the Claimant in a High Court claim arising out of his fall whilst descending disembarkation steps at Milan Airport. The case focused primarily on the judicial interpretation of ‘accident’ under the Montreal Convention 1999, namely whether there had been ‘an unusual, unexpected or untoward event, external to the Claimant, causing death or injury, on board an aircraft or in the course of embarkation or disembarkation’. Margaret Obi, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, found that, against the standard practices at the airport, the stairs had not been cleared of snow by the time the first passenger disembarked the aircraft, causing compacted snow to form on which the Claimant would ultimately slip. Though there was nothing inherently unusual about the adverse weather conditions, she accepted that the use of aircraft stairs without a canopy was ‘a positive decision on the part of the airport personnel’; and that the decision ‘involved a series of actions and omissions culminating in the aircraft stairs being aligned to the aircraft and the authority being given for the passengers to disembark’. This in combination constituted an ‘event’. Accepting Lionel’s argument, she also found that ‘the event was unusual from the point of view of the Claimant … he had no reason to expect that the stairs would be slippery due to compacted snow. Therefore, the event was unexpected and unforeseen from his perspective’. There is no other case precisely on all fours with this judgment, which helps to clarify the scope of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Barclay v British Airways PLC  EWCA Civ 1419.
P & Ors v Germanwings Gmbh; and M & Ors v Germanwings Gmbh
Confidential settlements achieved in two separate High Court claims brought on behalf of dependents of two different families arising out of the Germanwings disaster. There were significant disputes as to jurisdiction, applicable law and quantification, all of which had to be resolved during the settlement negotiations. The terms of the agreements included non-disclosure provisions preventing publication of the nature of the settlement achieved.