0370 1500 100

Expert Lawyers Secure Landmark Settlement For Hospice That Cared For Injured Baby

Irwin Mitchell Partner Hopes Case Will Pave The Way For Hospices To Be Included In Civil Claims


Expert lawyers acting for a devastated man who lost his partner and their 20-month-old son after a horrific car crash have secured a landmark settlement of just under £100,000 for a hospice, to cover the cost of the care they gave the baby boy in the months before his death.

Helen & Douglas House Hospice in Oxford, funded almost entirely by charitable donations, has thanked serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell for pursuing the out-of-court settlement after little Joseph Gipps spent three months there following the road accident.

The case, led by Partner and road accident expert Stephen Nye from Irwin Mitchell, is the first of its kind that has seen a defendant driver’s insurance company agree to pay costs incurred by a hospice after a person was seriously injured in a car crash.

It follows another landmark ruling in 2010 led by Industrial Illness experts at Irwin Mitchell that found a company responsible for the death of a worker from asbestos should contribute to his hospice care costs and a settlement was agreed.

Stephen hopes this latest case will pave the way for all other serious injury cases where hospices have dedicated time and resources to anyone that has sustained injury or illness through no fault of their own.

Joseph, his father Richard Gipps and mum Eleanor Bongers were involved in the horrendous crash near Tackley, Oxfordshire, three days before Christmas in 2009.

Eleanor died four days later on Boxing Day and Joseph, who was just 15-months-old at the time, suffered devastating injuries. After two weeks in intensive care he was moved to Helen & Douglas House Hospice, which provides a vital service to children who suffer disability and illness, for round the clock care.

But despite their dedication and support, he died five months after the accident due to breathing difficulties as a result of the catalogue of injuries he suffered in the crash.

Sally Rundle, 72, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and was given a two year suspended prison sentence.

Distraught Richard, a Doctor of Psychology, who suffered only minor injuries in the crash, contacted specialist road traffic accident lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in a battle to see justice for the huge loss of his family.

He is now trying to rebuild his life after his civil case was settled out of court and the hospice that cared for his beloved boy were paid £95,000 by Rundle’s car insurance company.

Stephen Nye from Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, who represented Richard, said: “I am very pleased to have been able to recover such a substantial sum of money for the hospice that provides a vital service and relies entirely on charitable donations, particularly given the difficult economic climate.

“The money recovered will go some way to ensuring that the fantastic services they offer will continue in the future.

“The money was received from the insurer of the driver at fault, on the basis that care was provided on a charitable basis and so can be reflected in a damages award. 

“I would hope that this would encourage other individuals to try and recover hospice costs wherever possible, as clearly all sources of income for hospices need to be explored in these difficult times. This settlement will just cover the costs of caring for Joseph so donations are just as important as ever to be able to continue the fantastic support.”

Tom Hill from Helen and Douglas House Hospital said: “We are extremely grateful for the part Irwin Mitchell played in getting this award.”

Stephen Nye added: “This was of course a horrifically tragic incident which has devastated a young family. Dr Gipps has dealt with this tragedy with great courage and dignity and is delighted that the hospice will see some benefit in the future.”

Every year, each Irwin Mitchell office selects a charity of the year which becomes the beneficiary of a year of fundraising by our employees. Help the Hospices has been chosen as Irwin Mitchell’s 2012 charity of the year with each office supporting a local hospice in the area.