The High Court has approved a settlement of £14.5 million, secured on behalf of an anonymous protected party, for catastrophic injuries caused by a road accident in France. The settlement was agreed in line with French law principles in accordance with the Rome II Regulation (EC 864/2007) and is thought to be one of the highest ever French law awards approved by an English court.
Although liability was conceded in the pre-action stages, the severity and complexity of the protected party’s injuries resulted in the team securing permission to rely upon expert evidence in over 20 disciplines.
The case also raised novel questions on the treatment of third-party payments to UK resident injured parties under French law assessment principles. The parties negotiated a compromise on French law regarding special accommodation damages claims and loss of earnings as well as non-pecuniary losses. Damages under French law for the family’s indirect moral damages and direct injury claims were also agreed in separate settlements.
Mark Lee, partner and head of the travel law team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, was introduced to the family shortly after the accident by their travel insurers whilst they were still in France. Since that time, he and his team have worked closely with highly experienced counsel Sarah Crowther QC and Chloe Bell of Outer Temple Chambers, the French law experts Paul and Thomas Ricard and a host of other experts. In addition, partner Daniel Toop in the firm’s Court of Protection team continues to manage the client’s funds in his role as the appointed Deputy.
Mark Lee commented: “This case involved a teenage boy who suffered catastrophic and life changing injuries. Ever since the accident, the family have shown incredible bravery and resilience and it has been our privilege to act for them.
“Mindful of the Rehabilitation Code, we were able to establish a collaborative approach with the defendant’s solicitors, enabling us to secure substantial interim payments to fund 24 hour care, treatment and rehabilitation. Over time, this continued rehabilitation has enabled our client to make remarkable progress and means he is now able to enjoy a much better quality of life. He also has the necessary funds to purchase suitably adapted accommodation to house him and his family and his care team in the years ahead.”
He continued: “The case has required a multi-disciplinary approach, primarily involving our Court of Protection team but also requiring input from our residential conveyancing, immigration and employment teams and even our lawyers in Singapore. We also benefitted greatly from expert guidance and advice from Sarah Crowther QC and Chloe Bell and Paul and Thomas Ricard on the intricacies of French law.
“Finally, credit must be given to other members of the travel law team, to include associate Joanna Wylie who successfully negotiated settlement of the claims involving the other family members and also for the hard work put in by our supporting paralegals and trainees, Jessica Francis, Emma Tallick, Ellie Aitken and Camilla Payen.”
The protected party’s mother commented: “The accident changed the course of our lives forever; there are no words to describe the physical, practical and emotional impact it has had. The magnitude of our son’s injuries has been a lot to bear at times but we are forever grateful to Mark and his team for everything they have done for us which has helped improve his quality of life and will ensure he is provided for in the future.”