Stephen Killalea QC and Peter Edwards successful in securing £8.25 million settlement in catastrophic injury case

Stephen Killalea QC and Peter Edwards were successful in the High Court yesterday in a case in which the Claimant, James Kennedy (now aged 37), sustained catastrophic spinal and brain injuries whilst he was holidaying with friends in Rome. The Claimant was hit whilst crossing the road by a car driven by the Defendant, Father John Cole, a Welsh Catholic Priest. Father Cole was later convicted of drink-driving.

The High Court, the Honourable Mr. Justice Bean, gave approval to a settlement that provided for a lump sum payment of £3 million, together with a Periodical Payments Order (PPO) of £210,000 per annum for life (both after taking account of a 20% deduction for contributory negligence). The capitalised value of the settlement is in excess of £10 million on a full liability basis. 

Aspects of the settlement that were particularly favourable to the Claimant included the following:

  • The PPO incorporated the claims for both future care and future loss of earnings (in order to make up the shortfall on the Claimant’s actual care costs created by the 20% deduction for contributory negligence). It is rare for the Court to make a PPO in respect of future loss of earnings and this course was resisted by the Defendant insurers in the Counter Schedule.  
  • The agreed PPO of £210,000 per annum is for the whole of the Claimant’s life. As the Judge commented at the Approval Hearing, this is an outcome that is more favourable to the Claimant than could possibly have been achieved at trial, where any PPO in respect of future loss of earnings would certainly have ceased at the date of the Claimant’s expected retirement. At the point when the PPO stepped down, the Claimant would have encountered difficulties in funding his actual care requirement of 2 carers for 24 hours per day.
  • A sum in excess of £1.65 million, on a full liability basis, for the purchase and adaptation - to a very high specification - of a home for the Claimant in the Gosforth area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he lived prior to the accident.
  • A sum of over £330,000, on a full liability basis, to cover the cost of building and maintaining a specialist hydrotherapy pool at the Claimant’s home. This is a claim that is routinely heavily resisted by Defendant insurers.

Steve and Pete were instructed by Clive Garner, Kathy Pickup and Cheryl Palmer-Hughes of Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham office.

The case has been covered in:

BBC News

ITV News

Sky

Irwin Mitchell

ChronicleLive

WalesOnline

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