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22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Hugh Potter

Young woman may receive another million pounds in compensation due to European Law

In 1999 we were instructed by the family of Kirsty who, two years earlier at seven years old, had sadly suffered very severe brain injury when she was hit by an uninsured off-road motorbike on a walkway close to her home.

As the motorbike rider was uninsured, her claim was dealt with by the Motor Insurers Bureau. Unfortunately for Kirsty, her claim which was worth £2.2 million had to be compromised on a 50% basis because of definitions in the Road Traffic Act 1988 which could have excluded her claim altogether. She therefore recovered £1.1 million.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice in the Slovenian case of Vnuk ruled that, for all Member States, compulsory motor insurance must cover any use of a vehicle consistent with the normal function of that vehicle.

We realised that had the UK Government fully implemented European Directives going back to 1972, then Kirsty could have recovered the full value of her claim.

We therefore advised Kirsty that she could bring a claim against the UK Government for this failure under the principle established in the case of Francovich for the balance of £1.1 million that she was unable to recover from the Motor Insurers Bureau. Through her Litigation Friend she instructed us to pursue such a claim. The case proceeds.

Hugh Potter acts on Kirsty’s behalf and commented:

I am sure there are many other injured persons in a similar position to Kirsty and who will also have potential claims against the UK Government and so the case has very wide implications.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed 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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