Fiona Ashworth acts on behalf of claimant in recent case W v MoD. The Claimant aged 22 at the time of the accident, sustained injuries in a road traffic accident in Germany when the vehicle in which she was travelling overturned. She was not wearing a seatbelt and damages were agreed to be reduced by 25%.  The Claimant sustained spinal injuries that required surgery on three occasions. The Claimant continued to experience back ache and so it was decided to operate with an implant.

During surgery the implant entered the spinal canal causing neurological damage.

The case against the operating surgeon was pursued in order to obviate the effects of the contributory negligence. It was argued that the majority of her symptoms and disability arose from the clinical negligence. There were arguments as to what were the effects of the negligent surgery and what would have been the case in any event. The RTA and Clinical negligence cases were case managed together.   

The Claimant had intensive rehabilitation. She had constant and permanent back pain extending into both buttocks. The right leg and knee were weak and unstable. She could walk for 15 to 20 minutes with a stick and orthotics. Her gait was unsteady and long distances required a wheelchair. She was likely to be dependent on a wheelchair from age 50.

Her career in the army was cut short. She had returned to part time work but was unlikely to be able to work beyond 50.  She claimed for continuing care, loss of earnings, pension, aids and appliances and accommodation. There was a claim for orthotics, physiotherapy, increased holiday costs, vehicle and transport costs, house maintenance, additional running costs, specialist sports equipment and sport physiotherapy. 

The first JSM was not successful due to the impending change of the discount rate.  The change resulted in the claim doubling in value.  The case settled in the second JSM for a gross figure of £3,582,987.50.


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