Richard Anthony Cole v Ministry of Defence (1999) Gloucester CC (Wade DJ) 29 March

Plaintiff: Male, 26 years old at date of accident; 32 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The plaintiff had served as a soldier in the British Army since 1990. In late 1992 he was leading a group through a drainage pipe on the ground at Salisbury Plain as part of a military training exercise. As the men passed through, one of the directing staff dropped a "thunderflash" (a small explosive device designed to make a loud noise and simulate battle conditions) into the pipe. The plaintiff saw the "thunderflash" being dropped but, because of the presence of other soldiers behind him, he was unable to protect himself and it exploded close to the plaintiff's left ear. The use of explosives and "thunderflash" devices were regulated by army infantry training instructions, and warnings on the potential dangers to hearing were printed in the manual. The plaintiff brought a claim against the Ministry of Defence contending that they had been negligent in failing to heed this information.

Injuries: The plaintiff's hearing was damaged when the "thunderflash" exploded. A medical examination conducted for the trial showed he had suffered an 8 per cent hearing loss. He claimed that the damage to his hearing had also caused the condition of tinnitus, leaving him with a continual moderate noise in his left ear. He was unable to serve in the army, having failed a number of training courses after the accident, finally being discharged in 1994.

Award: u12,000 total damages.

Plaintiff's solicitor: Ross Aldridge (Stroud)

Plaintiff's counsel: Jonathan Dingle

Hooper v Scott (1999) QBD (HH Judge Thompson QC)

22 March

Plaintiff: Male, 53 years old at date of accident; 56 years old at date of trial. The plaintiff was the widower of the deceased who was 37 years old at the date of her death.

Incident: The plaintiff's wife was hit by the defendant's car as she attempted to cross a road in Bath.

Injuries: The plaintiff's wife died as a result of severe injuries sustained in the accident. The plaintiff was left alone to care for their young daughter. He contended that his ability to work as a self-employed electrician was significantly impaired owing to the time he needed to spend with his child.

Award: u70,000 total damages.

Plaintiff's solicitor: Burningham & Brown

Plaintiff's counsel: Christopher Russell (2 Temple Gdns)

Paul White v Supakarts (1999) Nottingham CC (HH Judge Brunning) 29 March

Plaintiff: Male, single, 19 years old at date of accident; 23 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a supervising attendant on a go-cart funfair ride. The go-carts had an exposed section of engine at the rear. When starting up the carts, the plaintiff adopted a condoned but improper method which involved pulling directly on the throttle cable rather than the foot pedal. He was injured when he trapped his hand between the drive-belt and the drive-wheel. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in not providing a safe system of work and allowing its staff to place themselves at risk of injury.

Injuries: The plaintiff sustained a complete circumferential laceration of his right little finger and completely divided one nerve. After the accident he attended hospital where doctors reattached his nerve. He made a good recovery although he lost some sensation in his finger.

Award: u3,285 total damages Plaintiff's solicitor: Wykes O'Donnell Williams

Plaintiff's counsel: Andrew Prestwich

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