Kevin Lavelle v Sir Robert McAlphine Ltd (1999) QBD (Rougier J) 10 May 199Plaintiff: Male, married, 37 years old at date of settlement.

Incident: The claimant was employed by the defendant construction company to work on a project at Heathrow Airport. The claimant was driving a 40-ton truck along a dirt track on the building site when it slid into a pit 100 foot deep. He brought an action in negligence, alleging that the track along which he was required to drive was too narrow and that the edge of the pit was unsecured. He contended that there should have been some warning.

Injuries: The claimant sustained grave head injuries, leaving him brain damaged. He became lethargic and needed prompting to carry out basic daily tasks. He had been legally classified as a patient who was incapable of managing his own affairs and was dependent on the 24-hour care provided by his wife. He has not worked since the accident and medical reports had concluded that he would never work again. A hip injury he also sustained healed, although he continued to experience difficulty walking.

Award: u720,000 total damages.

Plaintiff's solicitor: Field Fisher Waterhouse

Plaintiff's counsel: Peter Andrews QC

Karen Beatham v Carlisle Hospitals NHS Trust (1999) QBD (Buckley J) 17 May 1999

Plaintiff: Female, married, 27 years old at date of accident; 30 years old at date of settlement.

Incident: On 14 January 1996 the claimant, who had a history of asthma, suffered a severe attack and attended the defendant's hospital. She was admitted to a ward but no steps were taken to ascertain her condition or monitor its progress. Her peak respiratory flow was not measured, even though this was part of standard practice in treating asthmatics. She suffered a respiratory attack and her breathing stopped. She urgently required oxygen to assist her breathing, but there was a delay in administering the gas while an oxygen mask was located. She suffered a cardiac arrest which led to her brain being starved of oxygen. The claimant brought an action alleging that the defendant was negligent in the medical treatment they provided, particularly in failing to prescribe the appropriate medication and ensure that proper equipment was available. She contended that once it became apparent that her condition was deteriorating there was a delay in responding.

Injuries: The claimant sustained brain damage as a result of her brain being starved of oxygen. She was left dependant on 24-hour care and was unable to walk or talk. She received care in an NHS hospice and was described as "minimally aware". She could recognise only her parents and had no awareness of her surroundings. She would continue to require intensive care.

Award: u1,700,000 total damages.

Plaintiff's solicitor: Osborne Morris & Morgan

Plaintiff's counsel: Simeon Maskrey QC

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