At a hearing in the High Court on Monday 26 April 2021, Mr Justice Murray approved the settlement of a claim for damages brought by Stewarts’ client FGH. The judge also ordered the claimant and his family’s details remain anonymous.
FGH’s claim for damages arises from a road traffic accident in Poland in August 2014. FGH was five years old at the time and was travelling as a rear seat passenger in a car being driven by his father. The car was involved in a head-on collision, tragically killing FGH’s sister and the occupants of the car travelling in the opposite direction. FGH’s mother was seriously injured and FGH was very seriously injured, sustaining a spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia, and multiple other injuries including psychiatric trauma and a traumatic brain injury.
At the time of his accident, FGH and his father (who was responsible for the accident) were both habitually resident in England. FGH’s claim for damages was therefore assessed under English law. FGH’s mother instructed Stewarts’ international injury partner, Chris Deacon, to bring proceedings in the English High Court.
Following negotiations between the parties in early 2021, it was agreed that FGH should receive:
- Lump sum damages of £8.9m; and
- Periodical payments from age 30, initially at £65,000 a year, rising to £95,000 and then £132,000 in later life. The periodical payments are linked to the Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data on care workers published annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This means that FGH’s future annual payments will rise in line with inflation on care workers’ earnings.
Combined, the lump sum and periodical payment settlement has a value of just over £13.35m.
The settlement also includes provision for FGH to return to court and seek further damages in the event he develops a symptomatic syrinx on his spinal cord resulting in further neurological deterioration.
During the course of the claim, Stewarts secured interim payments of over £1.2m to enable FGH to receive the best possible rehabilitation, medical treatment and equipment. The settlement includes provision for a paediatric robotic walking suit. It will enable FGH and his family to move to fully adapted accommodation to meet his life-long needs.
Partner Chris Deacon, who represented FGH commented:
“It has been a privilege representing FGH over the past six years and, alongside his family, working to ensure he received the very best outcome following this tragic and life changing accident in Poland. FGH has also had the support of his case managers and a superb, dedicated team of therapists in order to meet his wide ranging rehabilitation needs following the accident. I have worked in collaboration with the defendants and their legal representatives to secure over £1.2m in interim payments while we gathered the evidence to establish the final compensation award that FGH should receive. Now that the case is finalised, the settlement package we have secured for FGH will ensure that he can meet his lifelong needs. Importantly, the compensation includes provision for fully adapted accommodation, robotic walking suits, ongoing care and support, private therapies and medical oversight, as well as funds to ensure FGH can travel and explore the world in comfort as he grows up. In the years ahead I look forward to hearing how FGH excels and succeeds in his life beyond injury.”
FGH was represented by Chris Deacon, partner in Stewarts’ international injury department. He instructed Gerard McDermott QC and Will Young of Outer Temple Chambers. Stuart McKechnie QC was instructed as junior counsel prior to taking silk. The defendant insurers were represented by Malcolm Henke and Raouf Achour of Horwich Farrelly, instructing Nick Braslavsky QC of Kings Chambers.
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