Litigation Personal Injury 29/11/99

Jamie McMahon v Bolton Health Authority (1999) QBD (Hallett J) 20 October 1999

Claimant: Male, 4 months old at date of accident; 11 years old at date of settlement.

Incident: In 1988 the claimant underwent surgery for congenital cataracts. As a result, his vision, described as being "far from perfect" previously, was reduced to total blindness. The claimant alleged that the treatment had caused blindness and behavioural and intellectual difficulties. The defendant admitted negligence for the surgery but disputed causing the other problems.

Injuries: The claimant suffered from total blindness in both eyes. This made him severely withdrawn, resulting in autistic-like behaviour. Despite making "considerable advances", he remained significantly disabled and would be dependant on others for the rest of his life.

Award: £720,000 (out of court settlement).

Claimant's counsel: James Badenoch QC

Claimant's solicitor: Field Fisher Waterhouse

Vanessa Pritchard v Denise Mander (1999) QBD (Buckley J) 25 October 1999

Claimant: Female, 13 years old at date of accident; 17 years old at date of settlement.

Incident: The claimant was injured when a car driven by the defendant struck her as she crossed a complicated road junction. The traffic lights were green when the claimant walked onto the road and the defendant did not see the claimant until she was on the road. Liability disputed.

Injuries: The claimant suffered grave head injuries and was wheelchair-bound. Her memory and concentration were impaired and she suffered from respiratory difficulties derived from neurological damage. The claimant's mother had assumed the role of primary carer, assisted by part-time enablers. Medical experts believed the claimant would never be able to work full-time. The parties agreed her life expectancy was shortened but had not agreed by how much.

Award: £1,026,201 (out of court settlement).

Claimant's counsel: Richard Lynagh QC

Claimant's solicitor: Hill Dickinson

Robert Harding v Nero Signs (Glass Designs) Ltd (1999) QBD (Buckley J) 12 October 1999

Claimant: Male, 46 years old at date of accident; 49 years old at date of settlement.

Incident: The claimant was injured while unloading glass slabs with six colleagues. As one of the slabs was being moved onto a trolley, the foreman ordered them to put the glass down. The claimant, aware that the slab was not close enough to the trolley, did not let go and was left to bear the entire weight of the 520lb slab. Liability admitted.

Injuries: The claimant was left with pain in his mid-back which extended to his shoulders and occasionally his leg, and left with restricted movement. He was unable to walk long distances or sit for any length of time. He was unable to continue with the heavy manual work he had undertaken prior to the accident. Shortly before trial, the claimant secured himself a job driving for short distances. However this meant he was earning a considerably lower wage. The claimant's condition was permanent.

Award: £90,000 total damages (out of court settlement).

Claimant's counsel: Simon Brilliant

Claimant's solicitor: McMillan Williams (Surrey)