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Landmark Settlement For Fisherman Left For Dead After Pub Argument

Man Receives Compensation For Head Injuries



A French fisherman left severely disabled after being deliberately run over by a man following an altercation in a British pub has finally won his multi-million pound battle for funding for his future care, more than 14 years after the incident occurred.

Mr T suffered lasting injury after being run down in Newhaven in September 1995.  He received a serious head injury and multiple fractures leaving him severely disabled. Last month, a High Court judge approved an agreed settlement resulting in Mr T receiving a lump sum of over a million pounds and an annual payment of around £50,000 for the rest of his life. 

Mr T (then 30) from Normandy in Northern France was one a group of five fishermen who had docked at Newhaven, East Sussex, to escape a severe storm. The group headed for a local pub, to wait out the bad weather. During the course of the evening an argument broke out between the fishermen and a group of British regulars including local man, Mr B.

After both groups left the pub, Mr B got into his car and drove directly into the group of departing fishermen knocking down Mr T. He was taken to Atkinson Morley’s Hospital for emergency treatment and following the stabilisation of his injuries, he returned to his native Normandy, where he has been cared for by his wife and five children for the past fourteen years.

As a result of the incident Mr T has significant speech difficulties and has severely reduced mental capacity.  Mr B was prosecuted for dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and driving with excess alcohol in 1997, and received an eight year prison sentence and two year driving ban. 

In a landmark settlement approved last month, Mr T was awarded a lump sum payment of a just over £1 million together with an index linked periodical payment order initially of Euros 52,000.00 per annum, with this figure to be reviewed annually and upgraded based upon changes in the French Salaries Index.  It is believed that this decision, linking a periodical payments order to a foreign index, is the first of its kind.  Until relatively recently such orders were only adjusted by reference to the English Retail Prices Index. 

Legal Aid was granted in the UK 1997 to enable a claim to be brought against the Motor Insurers Bureau in its role as Guarantee Fund for injuries caused by uninsured drivers of motor vehicles.  However, due to the complicated and international nature of the case, progress in obtaining compensation for Mr T was slow, until specialist travel law firm Irwin Mitchell took over the claim in 2006.

Commenting after the approval of the award Mr T’s lawyer, Michael Zurbrugg a partner in the London office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell said “It is truly shocking that this man, whose life was ruined by an entirely calculated and callous attack should wait 14 years for his family to receive the necessary support for his care.

“It is a tribute to Mr T’s wife and five children that they have coped carrying the financial burden of his care for such a long time.  An added frustration has come from seeing his attacker complete an eight-year jail sentence and continue with his life, long before any final provision had been agreed for the victim. 

“The funds awarded in this case are not a windfall – they are an urgently needed resource that will secure a measure of long term professional care for Michel, and ensure that he and his family receive a degree of financial stability for the rest of their lives”, Mr Zurbrugg continued.