Penningtons Manches’ travel team has secured an admission of primary liability and a significant interim payment for a teenage boy from County Durham, who sustained a severe brain injury when he fell through an unprotected skylight located in the garden area of a hotel in Lanzarote, Spain.
Although liability was denied, Penningtons Manches obtained a report from a Spanish lawyer which indicated that the skylight was in breach of local standards. Proceedings were issued in the UK and a claim was pursued against the tour operator under the Package Travel Regulations 1992. The tour operator then brought in the Spanish hotel as an additional defendant.
While liability continued to be disputed, the parties subsequently agreed an apportionment of liability at a roundtable settlement meeting, with the defendants conceding 75% responsibility for the accident.
Following further negotiations since this meeting, the defendants have now agreed to an interim payment of £100,000 as a contribution to the client’s claim for damages and the costs of the claim.
The Penningtons Manches team, led by partner Mark Lee, is seeking an order from the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy as the neurological evidence suggests that the boy will not have capacity when he reaches the age of 18. In order to assess the value of the claim, the firm’s lawyers are collating documentary and witness evidence from the boy’s primary and secondary schools to compare his academic ability before the accident with his performance since. This evidence is needed to evaluate the claim properly for future loss of earnings.
Commenting on the award, Mark Lee said: ”This has been a hard fought case, with each party instructing experts who expressed fundamentally different opinions regarding the applicable local standards relating to the question of liability. Nevertheless the court has approved the parties’ agreed apportionment of liability, thereby avoiding the need for a liability trial. We are now in the process of obtaining further expert evidence to clarify our client’s prognosis and the extent to which his ongoing symptoms will impact on his future earnings capacity.”