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High Court makes largest ever court assessed award in a personal injury case for an English national

High Court makes largest ever court assessed award in a personal injury case for an English national

Farrugia v Burtenshaw & Others [2014] EWHC 1036 (QB)

The Claimant in this case suffered catastrophic injuries following a road traffic accident in 2008.  He was left with profound communication and physical disabilities and required 24-hour care.  The Third Defendant, Quinn Insurance, conceded liability and the matter came before Mr Justice Jay in the High Court for the quantum hearing.  The majority of the quantum issues had been resolved by agreement between the parties but the most valuable head of loss, ongoing and  future care and case management was heavily disputed.   Quinn Insurance also stated a preference to pay damages in the form of a single lump sum and refused to pay annual periodical payments.

The judge handed down his judgment on 8 April 2014 following a 4 day contested trial in the Royal Courts of Justice. 

Nicholas Heathcote Williams QC from 12 KBW and William Latimer-Sayer from Cloisters were instructed by Stewarts Law LLP and represented the Claimant.  They  successfully persuaded the judge that periodical payments were appropriate and the continuity of such payments were reasonably secure.  Although Quinn Insurance was in temporary administration in Ireland the judge found that in the event of default, periodical payments would continue to be paid under the Final Services Compensation Scheme.  The judge further largely preferred the Claimant’s witness and expert evidence regarding the extent of his care needs and found that he needed a high level of ongoing daytime and night-time care.  The award, which capitalises at about £9.7m, is thought to be the largest ever court assessed award in a personal injury case for an English national.  The case also involved the highest ever court assessed annual periodical payment for care and case management which increases from about £250,000 per annum to £277,878 from December 2040. 

Read the full judgment here.

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