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15 February 2024 | Case Study | Article by Hugh Potter

Multi-million pound total award for young man with life-changing injuries after deliberately being run down by car

Life-changing injuries for young man now wheelchair-dependant and with severe brain injury

Our young client, Ben*, was deliberately run down by a car near his family home. The driver had no insurance cover, fled the scene and was not identified. A civil claim was brought against two individuals, one of which was likely to have been the driver and also the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB).

The claim was strongly resisted until a few weeks before the liability trial on the basis that Ben couldn’t prove the driver’s identity and the surrounding police evidence, although plentiful, was inconclusive. Ultimately, the MIB accepted that, on the civil burden of proof, the claim would succeed and an agreement was reached.

Ben’s injuries were life changing; he sustained a very severe brain injury and crush fractures to both his legs. After a very prolonged period of NHS provided residential rehabilitation, he was discharged to his parents’ house and now lives with them and his two siblings in wheelchair-adapted rented accommodation.

Ben needs 24/7 care with a team of private carers who provide 2:1 support during the day and one carer at night. The care costs are very high, which reflect his complex physical needs, cognitive impairment and personality changes He also requires considerable case management, a package of therapy from a psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and dietician.

Ben does not have capacity to manage his own finances and will need a Deputy for his lifetime. He does, however, retain capacity for some decisions. He is largely wheelchair dependant, and his long-term accommodation will need to be fully accessible. He also needs a battery of aids and equipment such as shower chairs, hoist, kitchen utensils and so on. Specifically, to get around, he will require a light manoeuvrable good quality wheelchair (plus spare) plus a suitable wheelchair accessible vehicle. As a result of his injuries, Ben has no realistic earning capacity.

At the Approval Hearing, the following settlement terms were approved: a lump sum of £7.5 million plus annual periodical payments to Ben in the sum of £350,000 (uplifted to £390,000 from age 53) plus an entitlement to the first £35,000 welfare benefits received each year with any surplus payable by the Deputy to the MIB.

The periodical payments and entitlement to welfare benefits were index linked and for Ben’s life due to the life-changing injuries he sustained.

Hugh Potter, Partner and head of the Serious Injury team at Hugh James in Manchester, acted for Ben and said:

“This is a great outcome for Ben and his family. We have all fought long and hard first to pin down the identity of the driver and then set up an excellent compensation package that will meet his sadly substantial lifetime needs.”

*The names and identifying details of the client have been removed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Hugh Potter is Joint Head of the Manchester Office and Head of the Personal injury team in Manchester. Throughout his career, Hugh has acted on behalf of clients with brain and spinal cord injuries of the utmost severity, as well as having experience handing professional negligence cases, achieving record settlements with a reputation recognised nationally.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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