Traffic accident while abroad results in £385k award for claimant

22 Mar 2017 | Case Studies

While travelling as a passenger in France, our client, who was 18 years of age, was injured when the car he was travelling in flipped and rolled several times. Our client was ejected from his seat and was found some distance from the vehicle. He sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and underwent brain surgery in a French hospital before being repatriated. He developed tinnitus, hearing loss and lost his sense of smell and taste.  He suffered a marked change in personality and behaviour and his concentration was poor. His family provided him with care and assistance. He was due to start an apprenticeship as an electrician a month after the accident, but due to his injuries he was unable to begin.

Assistance was provided by a specialist case manager which was funded as part of the claim and rehabilitation was arranged.

The insurance policy was French which meant that the case fell under French law. According to French law, our client had a direct right of action against the defendant in respect of the personal injury and other losses he sustained. After discussions, liability was admitted; however due to the introduction of Rome II, assessment of damages was the subject of French law. Accordingly, evidence had to be obtained from French medical experts and French law experts. French road traffic accident law (referred to as Loi Badinter in French) was deemed applicable and compensation for bodily injury was calculated in accordance with Dintilhac Nomenclature (which is a reference tool used by the court, medical professionals and legal professionals in France to help calculate compensation). Following careful consideration of the date of consolidation (which is, in French law, the point in time with effect from which the condition of the claimant is stabilised) damages for the pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses were quantified.

Definition: Pecuniary means relating to or consisting of money.

A meeting took place with the defendant’s representatives to consider the possibility of discussing settlement of the claim out of court; however agreement could not be reached. Our client then made a part 36 offer to the defendant in an attempt to settle the claim which resulted in a positive outcome.

Definition: A part 36 offer is a legal tool used to encourage settlements by allowing claimants and defendants to inform the other side what they would be prepared to accept or offer in an attempt to settle the case.

Our client was awarded £385,000 for the injuries he sustained and the care and support he received and may require in the future. The claim for loss of earnings was small as our client was extremely stoic and determined to return to education and work. Following an intense period of rehabilitation and hard work on the part of our client, he secured an apprenticeship 5 years post injury. He continues to suffer on-going symptoms but has adjusted well to his injuries.

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