£135,000 damages for Plymouth Toshiba employee left with head injuries

Head injury compensation claim


A former Plymouth-based Japanese businessman, who suffered serious head injuries when he was involved in a motorway pile-up, has been awarded £135,000 damages.

56-year-old father of two, Ryoji Yamasaki, was working at Derriford-based Toshiba Information Systems, as part of a three-year UK secondment, when the accident happened back in September 2001.


Head injury caused by road accident

Mr Yamasaki was a passenger in a car, driven by his work colleague, Mr Shaun Burston, travelling on the M3 near Basingstoke, Hampshire, when they were hit from the rear, by a driver who failed to spot their vehicle had come to a halt behind a queue of stationery traffic.

Their car was crushed in the impact and although Mr Burston was fortunately not seriously injured, Mr Yamasaki was rushed to hospital with head injuries and a fractured spine and remained in a coma for two days.

He spent 15 days recovering from his injuries at the North Hampshire Hospital and a further four weeks at Waters Park House rehabilitation centre, before he was finally well enough to return home to Saitama-Ken in Japan.

He required further hospital treatment in Japan and now, four years on, the accident has left him with permanent health problems including short-term memory loss and poor levels of concentration.

Mr Yamasaki was unable to return to Plymouth to complete his secondment in the UK and although he continued to work within the Toshiba Group in Japan for a number of years after the accident, his injuries have meant he was no longer able to hold down his former position as a senior manager responsible for television design. The Toshiba Group have been very supportive to Mr Yamasaki after the accident and assisted Irwin Mitchell with their preparation of Mr Yamasakis claim something for which Mr Yamasaki is very grateful.


Head accident abroad solicitor

Mr Yamasakis solicitor, Martyn Gwyther, from the International Travel Litigation Group of national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, normally specialises in helping British citizens who have suffered accidents or injury while abroad. On this occasion, he found that representing a Japanese national involved in an accident in the UK, presented an equally challenging set of legal challenges.

He explained: Even though we were able to prove that the motorist who crashed into the rear of the vehicle in which Mr Yamasaki was a passenger, was at fault and quickly gained an admission of liability from his insurance company, we were faced with a number of complications as a result of our client returning to Japan including obvious language and cultural differences, all had to be successfully overcome before we could secure a fair settlement for our client.

Because of previous cases we have undertaken in the Far East on behalf of British nationals injured abroad, we already had access to Japanese interpreters and experts approved for Court use. They proved invaluable and acted as our face to face contact with Mr Yamasaki, so that he could brief us in his own language and without the need to travel long distances.

Martyn added: Although Mr Yamasakis time spent in the UK will always be tarnished with bad memories as a result of the accident, he is nevertheless extremely grateful that the English legal system came to his rescue. He has rightly been awarded a substantial amount in damages and final settlement of the case hopefully means he can now put the accident behind him and move on with rebuilding his life.

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