Litigation Personal Injury 02/12/97

Lawrence v Osborne – QBD 21 October, 1997

Claimant: Peter Lawrence, 39 years

Incident: Road traffic accident

Injuries: Claimant, once a successful accountant, suffered severe head injuries in road crash in which he was knocked off his motorcycle in 1991. As result of accident he underwent personality change, became bad tempered, suffered severe memory impairment and is now living in sheltered accommodation and incapable of managing his own affairs. His marriage broke down and his wife and daughter emigrated to Canada. Judge told that one of the major problems resulting from the accident was that claimant became sexually "disinhibited" and frequently made comments with sexual overtones to women. He tends to propose marriage and children at first meeting with a woman. One of the few jobs he has had since the accident was carrying out simple tasks for an accountancy firm but this ended with him being sacked for making unacceptable sexual innuendos to women in the office.

Award: £950,000

Judge: Mr Justice May

Plaintiff's counsel: Robin De Wilde QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Stewarts

Ratcliff v McDonnell and anor – QBD 7 November, 1997

Claimant: Luke Ratcliff, 22 years

Incident: Claimant injured diving into swimming pool

Injuries: Claimant rendered totally tetraplegic in December 1994 when he did a running dive into the pool hitting his head on the bottom. He was a student on a first-year farm management course at the Harper Adams Agricultural College in Newport, Shropshire, and had gone swimming with other students after drinking. It was held that diving into the pool should have been forbidden but that although college authorities knew of the danger and knew that students used the pool after hours they did nothing to stop the frequent abuse of college rules in this respect. Held that the college was 60 per cent to blame for what happened.

Award: Damages to be assessed

Judge: Judge Bentley QC

Plaintiff's counsel: Richard Lissack QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Cunningham John & Co