International personal injury experts from Irwin Mitchell helped to secure life-changing compensation for a man who suffered catastrophic brain injuries in a road traffic accident in Rome.
Our client, James Kennedy, was struck by a car being driven by a Welsh priest whilst he was crossing the road. 30 year old James, formerly a keen amateur ruby and cricket player, was left as the scene as the priest drove away. The priest was later convicted with drink driving.
James suffered severe injuries due to the crash including brain damage and fractures to his skull, spine, knee, collar bone and shoulder. He has been left with severe and permanent disabilities and has major difficulties with his memory and concentration. He is also wheelchair dependent and will require 24 hour care and assistance for the rest of his life.
Our client’s mother came to Irwin Mitchell for help in order to secure compensation to enable James to access the treatment and rehabilitation he needed to recover. At this point, James had been transferred from a hospital in Rome to his local hospital in Newcastle. His family were told that James was likely to remain in a vegetative state but despite this news, James’ family and his girlfriend of the time worked tirelessly and campaigned with the local Primary Care Trust to ensure James had access to further rehabilitation and treatment. He made significant progress with speech and language, mobility and his cognitive ability as a result.
Irwin Mitchell’s International Personal Injury team started court proceedings against the priest in the UK courts. We told the court that the responsibility of the accident was an 80/20 split basis as James had allegedly walked into the path of the car. We agreed an interim payment with the opposition which meant that James could purchase an adapted vehicle, employ a case manager and pay for a buddy who could assist him alongside his Trust provided therapies.
Our lawyers obtained a variety of evidence in order to come to a compensation sum that could cover James’ needs. His mother’s primary objective was to secure an interim payment that would allow James to purchase a property that would allow him to leave residential care and live in the community with his own bespoke care team.
We debated with the opposition the level of care that James needed and how much obtaining a suitable property would cost. After lengthy negotiations and following an application to the court to secure the necessary interim funds, we were able to obtain an interim payment of £1 million. As a result, James was able to purchase a property in the area he grew up in.
The priest’s representatives continued to dispute the case and it was therefore listed for trial. However a few days before the trial date new evidence came to light which meant proceedings were rescheduled. Less than a month before the re-listed trial, an out of court offer was made for £3 million plus £210,000 each year for the rest of James’ life. This offer was accepted and took into account travel expenses occurred by the family, loss of earnings, care costs, the cost of carers and funds for specialist equipment.
Clive Garner, head of our International Personal Injury team, represented James alongside specialist solicitor Cheryl Palmer-Hughes.
In relation to the case, Cheryl said: “James’ life was shattered by what happened in Rome – a fit and healthy young man was robbed of his mobility and independence in a tragic accident.
“He will never be able to work again and is currently totally dependent on carers to carry out most of the essential tasks of daily living.
“Having been deprived of so much, James now has the financial security that he rightly deserves and the resources to maximise his quality of life. Because of his disabilities, the Court of Protection will oversee the investment and use of his settlement and ensure that every pound is used to maximum effect for James’ benefit.
“James has been fortunate to have wonderful support from his family and friends. His mother, Elaine Lee, has fought relentlessly for James’ rights and over the past seven years her commitment, dedication and fighting spirit have been incredible.”
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