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19 February 2016
A man has been awarded substantial damages after the taxi in which he was a passenger collided with an oncoming car, leaving him paralysed.
Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Jennifer Maloney is a serious injury solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Settlement Value: £9.75m gross (3.4m lump sum, plus annual periodical payments of £170,000 for life).
What Happened: Our client was travelling in the back of a taxi to a friend’s birthday party in January 2010 when the driver lost control of the vehicle on sheet ice and collided with an oncoming car.
The client’s head was propelled forward by the impact at a speed of around 70mph and struck a structural pillar next to the windscreen. He lost consciousness and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury.
How Slater and Gordon Helped: Proceedings were brought against the taxi driver who denied liability and blamed the local water board, United Utilities.
He said that the road traffic accident was caused by ice on the road which had formed because of a nearby leaking pipe.
United Utilities added their contractors to the proceedings who in turn, blamed the local authority for the presence of ice on the road.
After a year in hospital, our client was discharged to a nursing home because his pre-accident home was not suitable for a wheelchair user.
We arranged support for our client with interim payments of £1.6m for him to buy and adapt a bungalow and recruit a care team.
Impact: Our client is now almost totally paralysed below the neck. He has tetraplegia that is sensory complete at the C3 level and motor complete at the C4 level.
He is confined to a wheelchair and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
Decision: After a long battle, liability was finally accepted by the taxi driver and judgment was entered in July 2014. Contributory negligence was alleged on the basis that our client was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
A trial on the issues took place in September 2014. The Judge applied a 25 per cent discount to our client’s damages because he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Our client argued that the correct discount was 15 per cent and tried to appeal the decision but the appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Settlement was reached at a Joint Settlement Meeting in September 2015 and our client was awarded a lump sum of £3.4m plus annual periodical payments of £170,000 for life after contributory negligence deductions.
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