Satinder Hunjan QC has secured £8 million in damages for a young motorcyclist who suffered very serious injuries. The overarching injury was an amputation of the arm; the Claimant required a left transhumeral amputation. The Claimant in addition suffered other injuries which included an injury to the brain; there were significant issues between the parties as to the nature and extent of the injury to the brain and all its consequences.
A standout feature of this claim was the collaborative approach taken at the outset by the parties. The accident occurred when the Defendant had driven a motor car across the path of the Claimant’s oncoming motorcycle. There was a real argument was that the Claimant was travelling at an excessive speed. The Claimant’s position was that primary liability was undeniable and that there was no sustainable case on contributory negligence as any excessive speed on the part of the Claimant was not of causative relevance. The Defendant taking a sensible approach did not waste time and expense putting forward tactical arguments of contributory negligence, for example, to thwart the Claimant obtaining interim payments. Rather, liability was admitted in full expeditiously and interim provision made to allow the Claimant to engage a Case Manager (together with support), change accommodation, investigate private prosthetic provision, investigate in detail targeted muscle reinnervation surgery (TMR) or a combination of TMR with osseointegration surgery, and have the input of other therapies and rehabilitation.
The real advantage to the Defendant of this approach was that as a result there was an early resolution of the claim at a JSM where both sides were represented by Leading Counsel. The JSM also proceeded on very much a collaborative basis; as a result, tactical and strategic positions were largely avoided. Most importantly, the interim provision which had been made not only benefited the Claimant but it also enabled the Claimant to investigate and test out his position in order that there could be an informed basis of the provision that the Claimant really needed or wanted! Taking that approach inevitably made savings for the Defendant in the claim as well as enabling the Claimant to move on with his life and away from the litigation knowing that he had had the benefit of significant provision having been made for him.
Interestingly, in my view a very significant intangible benefit of working collaboratively is that it inevitably promotes much more “give and take” on all aspects of the case and, importantly, results in both sides feeling that a fair, just and efficient conclusion has been reached.
Satinder was instructed by Debra Morris, Solicitor at Affinity Law and Chair of Headway, Derby.