Litigation Personal Injury 10/2/98

Salahi v Coulson – QBD 15 December 1997

Claimant: Sevtap Salahi, 51 years

Incident: Road traffic accident

Injuries: Mechanic Mesut Salahi killed after being hit by vehicle on the A13. Salahi had been towing a vehicle on the road when its tyre burst. He was knocked down after getting out of his vehicle following the incident. Claim mounted by his widow on behalf of herself and their children, a son aged 12 and daughters aged 18 and 23. Liability had been denied

Award: £140,000 agreed damages

Judge: Mr Justice Holland

Plaintiff's counsel: Simon Michael

Plaintiff's solicitor: Bolt Burdon, London N1

Griggs v North Herts NHS Trust – QBD 8 December 1997

Claimant: Maxine Griggs, 38 years

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claim by former mental patient who was left almost crippled after jumping from eighth floor window at Lister Hospital, Stevenage. Claimant was an "involuntary" patient in the psychiatric wing at the hospital at the time. After jumping she landed on a flat roof at third floor level and broke her back in the fall. Despite multiple injuries received in the fall the court was told there has since been a great improvement in her mental health. At the time of the fall in April 1992 claimant was said to have been suffering from a "borderline personality disorder" as a result of which she suffered hallucinations and heard "voices" urging her to harm herself. She had claimed that at the time of her jump the voices were too strong for her to resist. In 1992 she had twice tried to take her own life. On one occasion in January she tried to throw herself in front of a fire engine. She had also earlier been found on the 11th floor of Lister Hospital reaching for windows. She was placed under "close supervision" by staff in the hospital's psychiatric wing but on 3 April her regime was returned to "normal observation" levels. Contended hospital staff were to blame for what happened for failing to properly monitor her when she was a known suicide risk. She suffered a "crush fracture"of her spine together with a compound fracture of the right ankle and a fracture dislocation of the right shoulder in the accident. As a result of the ankle fracture a below-knee amputation later had to be carried out. She now suffers continuing pain in her spine but has the use of a wheelchair and can walk with the aid of a stick.

Award: £145,000 agreed damages

Judge: Mr Justice Eady

Plaintiff's counsel: Christopher Gardner QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Bindman & Partners, London WC1