Andrew Ritchie QC and Laura Begley secure a multi-million pound settlement 13 minutes before expiry of their Calderbank offer



Andrew Ritchie QC and Laura Begley secure a multi-million pound settlement 13 minutes before expiry of their Calderbank offer 2 days before a 10 day trial in a paraplegia case after two failed JSM’s and a mediation.The Claimant suffered catastrophic spinal injuries aged 18 when she was thrown out of car in a complex roll over accident after the driver lost control of the vehicle. She was not wearing a seat belt.

The Claimant’s engineering and A&E evidence suggested that her head would have been partially ejected and so would have suffered a serious traumatic brain injury and/or tetraplegia had she remained seat belted. Attempts to settle contributory negligence at 12.5% during 2 JSM’s and a mediation failed and the Claimant withdrew it’s offer at this level and the case settled almost at the doors of the court effectively for 7.5% contributory negligence. The Claimant was rendered a T5 paraplegic in the accident. She had a long life expectancy over the age of 70. The Defendant declined to make any PPO offer at the first JSM and the mediation but by the second JSM accepted the Claimant was ‘really serious’ about wanting a PPO and finally conceded that form of award just a month before trial, though the parties still did not settle at this juncture.

The Defendant viewed the case as a standard paraplegia case where live in care was not required and offered 3 hrs per day with modest increments at age 45, 65 and last 3 years of life. The Claimant was unable to do wet or floor to chair transfers, suffered painful spasms and had unpredictable bowel and bladder accidents and claimed 24/7 ‘standby care’ with increments at age 40 and 50. The Claimant made part 36 offers on every issue in the case which were accepted by the Defendant a week before trial save for the PPO element. The Defendant accepted the Claimant’s  Calderbank on the PPO 13 minutes before expiry 2 days before trial. The settlement was for a lump sum of £5.4m and PPO’s (rounded) of : £67,000 to age 44,  £108,665 to age 59, £158,340 for life.

Andrew and Laura were instructed by Alex Brown of Dean Wilson LLP.

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