The Royal Courts of Jersey recently approved a landmark settlement of a claim for damages brought by Stewarts’ client, Zac. The court’s approval marked the first time since the introduction of the Damages (Jersey) Act 2019 that damages were awarded by way of a periodical payment order under the Jersey legal system.
Our client’s claim for damages arose from a road traffic incident on the island of Jersey in August 2010. Zac was 11 years old at the time. He was travelling as a rear seat passenger in a car involved in a head-on collision. Zac sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, along with a constellation of severe orthopaedic injuries.
Zac and his family are originally from the island of Madeira and had been living on the island of Jersey when the incident occurred. Zac’s claim for damages was assessed under the laws of Jersey and had to be brought in the Royal Courts of Jersey.
The legal process
Zac’s delegate, Advocate Zoe Blomfield of Viberts, instructed Stewarts’ international injury partner and brain injury specialist lawyer, Scott Rigby, to act on his behalf. Stewarts worked in tandem with Jersey-based firm Bakers & Partners to bring Zac’s claim in Jersey.
Proceedings were paused during Zac’s childhood to allow him to complete his education and for experts to assess the full extent of the impact the severe brain injury would have on Zac in later life. Following negotiations between the parties in early 2021, it was agreed that Zac should receive damages by way of a lump sum and additionally index-linked annual periodical payments, which Zac will receive for the rest of his life.
The terms of the settlement were a landmark for civil cases heard in Jersey. This settlement is the first to allow provision for annual periodical payments following the introduction of the Damages (Jersey) Act 2019.
Stewarts secured substantial interim payments throughout the claim and instructed case manager Verity Boak of Independent Living Consultants to assemble and coordinate a team of specialist therapists to ensure Zac received the best possible rehabilitation, medical treatment, and equipment.
Stewarts worked collaboratively with the legal representatives of the defendant’s insurer to ensure Zac had access to funds to support his rehabilitation and development throughout his childhood. Zac has had the support of a team of therapists across several fields, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists to ensure he has made the best recovery possible from this horrendous accident.
The therapy received to date has enabled Zac to secure work experience and will allow him to live his life as independently as possible in light of his severe injuries.
Views from the team
Scott Rigby comments: “I am delighted that working together Stewarts and Baker & Partners have been able to secure this substantial settlement for Zac following this tragic accident on the island of Jersey. It has been a collective effort, working with lawyers and a case manager based in Jersey and experienced English barristers to secure the best possible rehabilitation available on the island.
“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to break new ground in the Jersey legal system with the agreement of annual periodical payments. These settlement terms will, crucially, enable Zac to live his life as independently as possible while still providing him with support from carers and therapists as and when required in later life. I am delighted Zac has a long life ahead of him and one which, with the support this settlement package provides, will allow him to thrive in the future.”
Advocate Zoe Blomfield says: “Scott provides an excellent service to clients and consistently demonstrates the deep practice knowledge needed for such complex cases. In this landmark ‘first of its kind’ case, we all welcome the settlement terms that have been won. I am very happy to see Zac secure work experience and hope he goes on to live a very fulfilling life.”
Case manager Verity Boak says: “This was a complex case with multi-faceted challenges, but strong leadership from Scott Rigby of Stewarts resulted in Zac’s best interests being placed at the forefront at all times. I am delighted that settlement has resulted in Zac being able to live a safe and active life with the support that he needs both now and in the future.”
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