Litigation Personal Injury 5/4/99

Steven John Bennett (by his next friend Margaret Ann Bennett) v NHS Litigation Authority (1999) QBD (Gage J) 15 March 1999

Plaintiff: Male, single, 25 years old at date of accident; 32 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The plaintiff suffered from severe epilepsy and was offered depth-electrode brain exploration, a procedure involving the insertion of electrodes into the brain. On 1 March 1991, Mr Polkey, a neurosurgeon, met with the plaintiff to explain the procedure, but was interrupted by a phone call. After the operation, to which he had given consent, the plaintiff was found to have brain damage.

The plaintiff alleged that he had not been given full details of the procedure and the attendant risks and therefore had not given informed consent.

Injuries: The plaintiff had difficulty articulating his words; his memory and concentration had been impaired; and he had to stop work. The side of his face had dropped and he was prone to dribbling. His right arm had been weakened and pain in his groin and knee had affected his mobility. He enjoyed some independence but still required care and assistance. His condition was unlikely to improve and he would never work again.

Award: u225,000 total damages (out of court settlement)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Redfern & Stigant

Plaintiff's counsel: Dennis Matthews

Elizabeth Vossler v Leslie Mead (1999) QBD (Alliott J) 15 March 1999

Plaintiff: Female, 41 years old at date of accident; 45 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The plaintiff was driving along the M25 motorway at 6pm on 21 January 1995. The defendant was travelling in the opposite direction, in the nearside lane. When the traffic ahead slowed, the defendant swerved into the offside lane, crossed the central reservation, drove along the westbound carriageway into oncoming traffic, and into the plaintiff's car. On 8 January 1996 the defendant was found guilty of dangerous driving and driving under the influence of excess alcohol. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and banned for five years.

Injuries: The plaintiff was treated by an off-duty doctor at the scene before being transferred to hospital. She sustained a head injury and severe spinal damage and was hospitalised for 11 months. At the time of the trial she was wheelchair-bound, suffered from short-term memory loss and could only speak in a whisper. She was dependent on the intensive care and support provided by her husband.

Award: u2,050,000 total damages (out of court settlement)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Stewarts

Plaintiff's counsel: William Norris QC

James Sayer v Andrew Dennis (1999) QBD (HH Judge Coningsby QC) 15 March 1999

Plaintiff: Male, 14 years old at date of accident; 24 years old at date of trial.

Incident: In March 1986 the plaintiff was crossing a road when he was struck by the defendant's car.

Injuries: The plaintiff sustained severe multiple fractures and a serious head injury, which left him in pain and with reduced mobility. Six years later he became schizophrenic, which he contended was triggered by the head injury (contested by the defendant).

Award: u212,500 total damages (out of court settlement – approved)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Cunningham John & Co

Plaintiff's counsel: Jeffrey Burke QC

Cases from Lawtel's PI Quantum Database. Contact Deborah Talbot on 0171 970 4800.