The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
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Gillian Shaw v K Taneja (1999) QBD (Robert Owen QC) 20 April 1999
Plaintiff: Female, married, 40 years old at date of accident; 44 years old at date of trial.
Incident: The plaintiff sustained injury on 17 June 1995 when the car she was driving was struck from behind by the defendant's vehicle.
Injuries: The plaintiff sustained a chronic whiplash injury to her cervical spine and was required to wear a neck brace to ease the pain. The plaintiff was left with a range of symptoms which the judge said had "severely disabled her". The plaintiff continued to suffer pain and acute headaches and was unable to pursue the leisure activities that she had enjoyed prior to the accident. The whiplash injury had left her unable to move her head freely and had also affected the movement of her jaw. The plaintiff was heavily reliant on the care and support of her husband and was unable to leave her home unless accompanied. She suffered depression and was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She had been unable to continue working as a health services manager and had left employment shortly after the accident. It was accepted by both parties that the plaintiff would be unlikely to ever work again. The plaintiff also experienced such severe mobility difficulties that she was unable to walk for more than 50 yards without the support of a walking stick. However, the judge was unable to establish as fact that there was any causal link between this and the whiplash injury.
Award: u751,617 total damages.
Plaintiff's solicitor: Jeffrey Green Russell
Plaintiff's counsel: John Rylance
Abid v Riverside Health Authority (1999) QBD (Douglas Brown J) 13 April 1999
Plaintiff: Female, two weeks old at date of accident; eight years old at date of trial.
Incident: The plaintiff suffered a severe nosebleed when she was two weeks old. The medical team that was treating her failed to investigate any potential cause of the nosebleed and, as a result, it failed to diagnose the plaintiff's hepatitis or vitamin K deficiency, nor did it observe the onset of a brain haemorrhage. The plaintiff brought an action contending that the defendant health authority was negligent because its staff had not taken appropriate steps to determine why her nose was bleeding. She stated that, had an investigation been undertaken, her true condition would have been discovered with sufficient time to have avoided injury.
Injuries: As a result of the late diagnosis of her condition, the plaintiff suffered injury to her right arm and leg and additionally sustained significant brain damage At the date of trial, the plaintiff had the mental capacity of a four-year-old and was not growing or developing at the rate she should have been. She required constant supervision and received special assistance at school. The plaintiff's short-term memory was impaired and she was at risk of causing herself injury.
Out of court settlement: u1,200,000 total damages.