1 Personal injury news Spring 2012 Head injury Ecoli 0157 outbreak Injunction lifted for better education Mesothelioma case Terrorism compensation Road traffic accident Accident at South Pole Who we are... Peruvian plane crash Injured cyclist Useful information Paul McNeil Partner (0) Peter Williams Partner (0) Dushal Mehta Solicitor (0) Jill Greenfield Partner (0) Andrew Morgan Partner (0) Sarah Saldanha Solicitor (0) Mark Bowman Senior Associate (0) Richard Earle Senior Associate (0)
2 Contents 2 Welcome 3 Head 4 Group 6 Mesothelioma 7 8 Compensation 9 10 road 11 Settlement 12 Settlement 13 Injunction injured machine operator wins 4.2 million settlement action for children exposed to E Coli 0157 award made for widow in out of time claim Campaign to change law on terroism compensation for infant run over by lorry Settlement for pedestrian Settlement for mesothelioma victim who lived near asbestos factory 3.8 million for Claimant involved in traffic accident for accident at the South Pole for pedestrian lifted so student can receive the best education Useful organisations Meet the team Welcome to the Spring 2012 Edition of our Personal injury news At Field Fisher Waterhouse, we try to understand the difficulties which face clients who have suffered personal injuries. Our philosophy is to give our clients the confidence that we will do everything to uncover the causes of accidents and industrial diseases, and to obtain the highest award possible as quickly as proper investigation allows. I believe that our mission statement encapsulates this philosophy: Caring for our clients, Commitment to our cases, Cutting edge expertise. This review is intended to give timely insight into the work that we do so that you can see what can be achieved. Our clients are everyday people who have suffered serious injuries, through no fault of their own, often in circumstances that are difficult to understand. Many are motivated by the need to fund rehabilitation and care. Some wish to recover lost earnings or to compensate for a loved one s financial support. Others simply want an explanation so as to avoid the same situation occurring again. Our lawyers are renowned for their expertise, their commitment and the care that they take. They are also compassionate and work extremely hard. You will see from the cases in this issue that our clients encounter many different circumstances over many areas of personal injury. We cater for them all. In so far as is possible, we pursue claims very quickly and without fuss. This allows our clients to rebuild their lives with minimal disruption, and with empathy and support from us. You only have to read the quotes from our clients and from the independent legal directories to know that we have a strong reputation. This coupled with rigour and dedication, enables us to win the best settlements - the very least our clients deserve. In virtually all of our cases this is done at no cost to our clients. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the experts and barristers whom we instruct. Without their brilliance, support and hard work our successes would not be possible. Please take the time to read on and find out what we can achieve for you. If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to call me on or me at Alternatively, please visit our website, which has recently been relaunched, at I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Paul McNeil Head of Personal Injury Department The excellent litigation team at Field Fisher Waterhouse is particularly strong at industrial disease & catastrophic brain injury work. The Legal 500, 2011
3 Freephone Rodney makes Britain a better place to live. Mr Wallace Scott at home. 3 The Independent on Sunday has named Field Fisher Waterhouse asbestos and personal injury partner, Rodney Nelson-Jones, in a list of 100 people who make Britain a better place to live. Rodney has dedicated more than 30 years of his career to getting compensation for dying asbestos victims. He is known for his tireless work in getting victims and their families the money they deserve. His victories have paved the way for many others to get compensation. Rodney, who won the Association of Personal Injury Lawyer s Outstanding Achievement award in 2002, has dedicated his career to seeking justice for those affected by the use of asbestos and their families. Head injured machine operator wins 4.2 million settlement In October 2008, Christopher Kaye, a 57 year old man from Barnsley, was working on a construction site in Sheffield for demolition company Euro Dismantling Services Ltd when he was seriously injured after he was struck by heavy machinery at work. Mr Kaye was rushed to Sheffield Hospital where he underwent life saving surgery. He was left with severe brain damage and remained in Keresforth neurorehabilitation unit for many months. Jill Greenfield secured a multimillion-pound settlement for a machine operator after a work injury left him with brain damage. He now needs round the clock care and lives in adapted housing with a hydrotherapy pool bought during the course of the litigation. Liability was denied and there ensued a battle in relation to liability which culminated in a settlement in respect of liability of 90% in Mr Kaye s favour. The claim was then to be quantified but there were significant differences between the parties over life expectancy. After extensive negotiations the Claim settled for a capitalised sum of 4.2 million (a lump sum of 1.75 million and additional annual payments of 135,000 for life). This money will be used to pay for Chris s carer and various therapy costs. This is a particularly high award given the Claimant s age and modest income. Jill Greenfield said: This was a terrible accident that could have been avoided had better equipment and training been in place at Mr Kaye s workplace. It has been a difficult fight to secure financial support and whilst money in itself cannot compensate for what my client and his family have gone through, it will ensure that he is able to get the long term treatment and care he needs which is now absolutely essential to him. Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
4 Group action for children exposed to E Coli 0157 in the largest ever UK outbreak Jill Greenfield and Richard Earle continue to work on the Godstone farm E coli 0157 outbreak that occurred in the summer of The children had been visiting the farm during the school holidays. It quickly became apparent that there was a problem and a number of children were reported as unwell. Our instruction came mainly as a result of Jill Greenfield s experience in dealing with E Coli cases having previously acted for a young boy who suffered serious brain damage following a school trip to an Open Farm. Exposure to E Coli 0157 for young children and the elderly is lifethreatening. Of those children infected by the bacteria 22% went on to suffer kidney complications and a number of those children are at risk of requiring renal support/transplants in later life. There are various strains of E Coli, many of which we carry and which are harmless. Unfortuanly E Coli 0157 is a deadly strain which attacks the kidneys It quickly became apparent that there was a problem and a number of children were reported as unwell and for which there is little treatment. Conservative management can help to avoid the progression of the bacteria but in general the bacteria will run its course. Notably antibiotics have little effect and can make the situation rather worse. E Coli 0157 is not generally found in humans but rather is carried by farm animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. These animals are more likely to be carriers of the bacteria and can become sporadic shedders. Generally the bacteria will be present in their faeces. Ingestion is hand to mouth and so there must be contact with infected animal faeces for the bacteria to be spread. Once a person is infected they themselves can pass on the bacteria to others via the same route. Proceedings were issued in June This followed the publication of the Griffin Inquiry which was highly critical of Godstone farm and the Health Protection Agency s response to the outbreak. Areas of critical concern were: Children were allowed to enter the pens of animals and feed them. The children were therefore in direct contact with the animals and so too their faeces The farm operated a deep bedding system which meant that the straw was lain on top of straw without it being changed for extended periods. This would lead to a build up of faecal material and given that the children were walking on this straw again exposure to faecal material was of primary concern The families were not made clearly aware of the presence and risk of E Coli 0157 and so were not aware that additional precautions were essential in relation to handwashing. Nor were they given an informed choice as to whether to allow their children onto the farm given the very grave risks. E Coli 0157
5 Freephone E Coli 0157 is not generally found in humans but rather is carried by farm animals such as cattle sheep and goats In June 2010, we issued proceedings against the farm on behalf of Todd and Aaron Furnell, twins who were exposed to E.Coli Both of the twins, now aged three, suffered kidney failure and spent weeks in hospital after being infected with the bacteria. A full denial of liability was initially received. Following the disclosure of documents by the farm there followed an acceptance of responsibility and Judgement was entered on behalf of the children in March The Claim now continues. The value of each case is now being assessed and careful consideration is being taken In June 2010 we issued proceedings against Godstone Farm regarding the potential life long risk of renal failure that some of these children face. A number of the children we would expect will need to have a provisional damages award. That means that the child would receive some damages at this stage but more importantly would be able to re open their case if in the future the concerns regarding renal failure were to come to fruition. The claims would then be requantified taking into account the more serious needs. Since the case a number of steps have been taken to ensure better safety on Open Farms. The Health and Safety Executive has issued fuller guidance to farm owners and in general parents have become more aware of the risks of E Coli There have been calls for a national Approved Code of Practice for the Open Farm industry, something that has still yet to happen. E Coli 0157 has now become a notifiable disease and it is hoped that by doing so, cases will be logged more rapidly along with their source. Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
6 Mesothelioma award made for widow in out of time claim against Exxon Mobil Peter was fantastic. I really couldn t have wished for anything more. He worked really hard on my claim and really knew his stuff. I have passed his number on to others because I was so pleased. We recovered damages for Jean Ambrose following the death of her husband, Edward, from mesothelioma. Peter Williams claimed against Exxon Mobil (formerly Mobil Oil) who had exposed Edward to asbestos while he was working there as a maintenance engineer from 1958 to Edward was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006, when he was 76. Jean cared for him during his illness until he died in November The case was strictly speaking out of time because Mr Ambrose had not issued a claim at court against Exxon Mobil within three years of his diagnosis. Jean was unaware of this. Peter Williams recovered compensation for Jean Ambrose after two other firms would not pursue a claim on her behalf Jean contacted two firms of solicitors, which did not pursue her claim. She eventually contacted Peter Williams, who was confident he could prove a case, even though the deadline had passed. Peter negotiated an award for Jean. He argued that Exxon Mobil was not disadvantaged by the delay as it had seen and settled asbestos claims in the past arising from the same circumstances. Many of these claims have been conducted by Field Fisher Waterhouse. During the inquest the coroner advised Jean to instruct a solicitor. Jean s husband died from mesothelioma
7 Freephone Government confirms scheme to assist British Victims of Terrorists abroad 7 Ken Clarke confirms scheme will be put in place in 2012 Historically British victims of terrorist atrocites whilst abroad received no financial support on their return to the UK. If however the incident occurred in the UK then a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was possible as demonstrated following the 2007 London bombings. The distinction was hard to justify. Jill Greenfield, working on a pro bono basis, started to work on a campaign to change the law in She worked alongside the victims of the Sharm el Sheikh, Kusadasi and more recently the victims of the Mumbai bombings. The legal team also consisted of Lord Brennan QC, Yasmin Waljee of Hogan Lovells and Gorden Nardell QC. Jill Greenfield has campaigned with other lawyers along side vicitms of terrorist atrocities The discrepancy in the lack of financial support was seen by the campaigners as unfair given that those affected, often tourists, were soft targets with little protection. Tourists and business travellers had now become the target of terrorist groups and so tourists found themselves on the front line of a very different kind of warfare. It was also clear that schemes in other countries around the world did offer financial support to their own citizens caught up in such atrocities when abroad. It was felt that the announcement in April 2010, which enacted legislation that would bring in the scheme was the final hurdle. Unfortunately, there quickly followed a change of government and of course the UK s financial deficit became apparent. The Ministry of Justice appeared to be backtracking and the concern was that the scheme was not going to happen at all. Fortunately a recent announcement by Ken Clarke confirms that the scheme will indeed be introduced and the indication is that this will be along the lines of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. In addition victims of past atrocities going back to and including the Bali bombings will also have the ability to seek financial support. When the scheme was announced Jill said: This has taken many years but finally financial support will be available to those injured abroad in terrorist atrocities. This is a massive achievement for the victims and all those involved in the campaign. It will also help those unfortunate to be caught up in atrocities in the future. It must be right that whilst the scheme is not retrospective, those involved in past atrocities should receive support on the same basis. We believe that there are over 50 such victims out there and we would urge those that have not been contacted by the government so far to come forward. Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
8 Road Traffic Accident leads to double leg amputation Alexander Quan-Yat-Koon, was tragically injured in a road traffic accident while walking down his local high street. He instructed Paul McNeil who successfully negotiated a 7 figure settlement for the husband and father of one. On the morning of Friday 15th October 2010, Alex s birthday, he was walking down Silver Street in Lyme Regis when a 7.5 tonne Royal Mail lorry mounted the pavement outside the Mariners Hotel. The Lorry propelled Alex through the hotel window causing him to sustain serious, life threatening injuries. Royal Mail denied liability from the outset, arguing that the driver suffered from a sudden seizure, or black out, which impaired his ability to control his vehicle immediately prior to the collision. If this argument was succesful Alex would not have obtained compensation for his devastating injuries. We obtained quality expert advice from a neurologist and accident reconstruction expert which demonstrated that the driver was very unlikely to have suffered such a fit before the accident. Our case was that the fit occurred after the accident when I was very happy to have someone of Paul s calibre on my side. He is a great professional and always kept me in the loop the driver hit his head on the steering wheel. The Claimant suffered extensive leg, head and shoulder injuries resulting in amputation of both legs. Sandy, was studying to be an accountant and was in the process of revising for his finals. He hopes to complete his exams at his first available opportunity. Sandy is now undergoing an intensive course of physiotherapy and will be able to move in to a purpose built bungalow, and afford a state-of-the-art prosthesis, thanks to the compensation Paul McNeil secured on his behalf. After the case Alex said; I was very happy to have someone of Paul s calibre on my side. He is a great professional and always kept me in the loop. He is very considerate and the wellbeing of his client is always his priority. He managed to secure a very good outcome on my behalf. I can now focus on my rehabilitation and getting the best help that I will need to rebuild my life. Settlement for pedestrian knocked down on silver wedding anniversary We recovered 347,500 damages for Maria who was knocked down by a four by four vehicle on her way home from work. Following the impact Maria was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London where she underwent a number of scans and x-rays. Maria sustained fractures to her collar bone and right shoulder blade. She suffered nine fractured ribs, along with fractures to her pelvis and pubic bones. She was initially treated in intensive Maria sustained fractures to her collar bone and right shoulder blade care before being moved to the high dependency unit where she remained for four weeks. As a result of her injuries, Maria s life has changed dramatically. She has been unable to return to her job in education and requires extensive ongoing therapy to ease the effects of her injuries. Maria instructed Mark Bowman to pursue a road traffic claim against the driver of the vehicle. Mark investigated a claim on Maria s behalf and was able to secure an early admission of liability. Expert evidence was obtained from an orthopaedic surgeon and pain management consultant and following a settlement meeting in May 2011 was able to secure a settlement of 347,500, which Maria accepted.
9 Freephone Settlement for mesothelioma victim who lived near asbestos factory 9 Sheila was exposed to asbestos as a young girl in South London. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and sadly passed away in July 2011 We recovered compensation for a mesothelioma victim who was exposed to asbestos because she lived near Central Asbestos Limited in London. Andrew Morgan recovered compensation for Sheila after another firm refused to pursue her risky claim Central Asbestos Company Ltd. ceased trading many years ago but Andrew was able to identify the insurers and threatened to sue in court. Our client, Sheila Wincott was born in May She lived in south London, near the Central Asbestos Company Ltd. from the age of 16. She lived there for over eight years and during this time she was exposed to asbestos dust by the company. Many years later in July 2009, at the age of 73, Sheila developed problems with her chest and two months later was diagnosed as suffering from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Sheila initially instructed another London-based law firm to conduct her claim. They obtained a statement and undertook some investigations but decided that the claim was too risky for them and declined to offer a no win no fee arrangement. Sheila then contacted Andrew Morgan in July Andrew visited Sheila at home to take a new statement. He explored the circumstances of her exposure in more detail. He obtained details of other witnesses, close relatives and friends, who might be able to help. He made a claim against the company and obtained a medical report. The insurers agreed to enter settlement talks. Shortly before court action, the defendant offered to settle the claim for 120,000, near enough to the full value of the claim. Sheila was happy to accept the offer. Unfortunately Sheila died in July, shortly after the case settled. Andrew went through everything with a fine tooth comb. He worked so hard for me to get the result that I deserved and to obtain peace of mind. Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
10 3.8 million for Claimant involved in serious road traffic accident Jill Greenfield acted for a young man who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his friend. The friend lost control of the vehicle and the Claimant suffered very severe head injures. There followed many years of rehabilitation as a result of which the claimant was able to live a fairly good quality of life albeit he needing support from a case manager, carers and various therapists. At the time of the accident, the Claimant had a flourishing career ahead of him. This was lost due to his injuries. The case was due to go to trial this year but recently settled for a lump sum of Jill Greenfield secured a 3.8 million for her client involved in serious road traffic accident. 2.1 million plus annual periodical payments of 60,000. When capitalised the Claim value is 3.8 million. There was a real dispute between the parties as to the extent of the injuries and the long term risks posed. The Claimant s case was that he could well end up in a wheelchair. The Defence disagreed. To ensure full protection for the Claimant a provisional damages award was agreed ensuring that the claim can be reopened should the Claimant suffer a serious deterioration in his condition or if he develops epilepsy such that he requires additional care and support. the exceptional Jill Greenfield has few equals in getting results The Legal 500, 2011 Substantial Damages recovered for British Man Killed in Peruvian Plane Crash Peter Williams acted for the family of a British tourist. He was killed in October 2010 when a Cessna 185 in which he was travelling with four other British nationals crashed over the famous Nazca Lines in Peru. An accident report revealed that one of the pilots had been drinking and took off with the fuel selector valve in the off instead of on position resulting in a loss of power shortly after takeoff. A substantial sum was recovered on behalf of the family.
11 Freephone Settlement for accident at the South Pole 11 Michael Langton was employed by Raytheon Polar Services (NZ) Limited as an engineer on a summer contract at the South Pole. He was injured when a ball bearing valve assembly failed. The ball bearing shot out under pressure striking Michael s right hand causing immediate blood loss and trauma to his right arm. He was evacuated by emergency flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, for treatment. He was told that amputation was a real risk. Luckily, his arm was saved after emergency surgery in which he received 70 stitches. The injury prevented Michael working as a heavy engineer for about two years, so he and his family suffered a loss of income. Because of his injury Michael could not continue working at the South Pole and so returned to Switzerland where he was domiciled with his wife and son. He contacted Andrew Morgan for advice and made a claim. The employer s insurers were based in Scotland and they instructed solicitors in London to handle the claim. They refused to pay any compensation for Michael s life threatening injuries on the basis that, because he entered Andrew Morgan secured a settlement for a UK citizen who was seriously injured in a work accident at the South Pole. employment in New Zealand, Michael was covered by New Zealand s no fault compensation arrangements, known as the ACC, so that he was not entitled to any compensation. Andrew advised Michael that because he was not a New Zealand citizen, and because the accident did not happen in New Zealand, he was not covered by the scheme and was entitled to make a claim. However, there is no court which is universally recognised as having jurisdiction to deal with negligence claims arising at the South Pole. Instead Andrew pursued a claim in New Zealand for breach of Michael s employment contract. Michael won the argument that he was not covered by the ACC scheme and was entitled to make a claim. Andrew then negotiated a final settlement with Raytheon for an undisclosed amount of compensation for Michael. Andrew Morgan says: It is a fundamental right that people who are injured at work are entitled to financial redress and support, either through compensation awarded by the courts or through a statutory alternative. Raytheon employs up to 600 people at the South Polar Base during the summer months in addition to hundreds of other staff at the McMurdo and Palmer Bases, operating at temperatures as low as minus 80 c in the winter months. Michael was injured while working at the South Pole Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
12 200,000 damages recovered for injured motorbike rider following accident Richard Earle negotiated a 200,000 settlement for his client, Laura, who was knocked from her motorbike by another vehicle. Laura was driving home from work on her Honda Hornet motorbike in October As she approached a zebra crossing she noticed a pedestrian was waiting to cross. She stopped to let the lady cross but was hit by an Opel Astra which had been travelling behind her and failed to stop. Laura was thrown in the air and landed heavily on her back, banging her head. Laura was a salaried partner at a London law firm who headed up the firm s (relatively new) property finance department. She worked long hours (50 hrs per week being typical). A significant part of her role involved generating new business and ensuring that existing clients were maintained. Richard Earle was instructed by Laura to pursue a personal injury claim. After lengthy negotiations, Richard obtained an offer of 200,000. This meant wining and dining clients, much of which took place outside of normal office hours. It was a role which required a good deal of energy and commitment and prior to the accident Laura was extremely fit. Laura s employers were initially sympathetic but this appeared to wane in the light of the duration of symptoms combined with the economic downturn in the property market and she was made redundant. It became a material issue in the claim to what extent the Laura s redundancy arose from the downturn and/or her inability to perform to the required standard due to ongoing symptoms. Laura s evidence and that of her work colleagues was that she would have ridden out the downturn but this was disputed. Laura instructed Richard Earle to pursue a personal injury claim. After lengthy investigations and negotiations, Richard obtained an offer of 200,000 which Laura was happy to accept.
13 Freephone Injunction lifted so student can receive the best possible education 13 Virta suffered severe brain damage after being injured in a road traffic crash. The case had been pursued by a previous firm of solicitors for 12 years but they had not brought it to a successful conclusion. Jill Greenfield took over the case. It quickly became clear that the school Virta was attending did not appear to meet her complex needs. The indication was that she required a highly structured and consistent environment. This would provide her with a wide based curriculum including the development of independence and self-care skills. Our educational expert and rehabilitation experts felt that Virta needed to be placed in a school that provided her with a higher level of integrated therapy with an extended curriculum to manage some of her frustrations and unpredictable behaviour in both the classroom and the social setting. However before we took over the case it was discovered that an agreement had been entered into with the Jill Greenfield was instructed by the parents Virta who had been involved in a very serious road traffic accident and suffered serious brain damage. defendants that prevented Virta from moving to another school. The agreement also said that no move to a different school could happen until a High Court hearing took place in relation to the education needs. This was effectively an injunction preventing Virta moving to a school which our experts felt would better meet her individual needs. We felt that this was a tactic being used by the defendant to avoid paying the cost of specialist school fees. Jill challenged the agreement that had been entered into. The defendant initially refused to change position. We continued to press for Virta s right to choose which school she attended. On the day before the education case was due to go to trial, the defendant agreed to the Court Order preventing Virta from changing schools to be lifted. We also secured an interim payment of 50,000 from the defendant. This money enabled Virta to move to a school which could better meet her needs. This was a boarding school and would ensure that therapy and teaching would be well integrated into the waking curriculum and that the therapists would work within the school and then follow that through to the community setting. Virta is now going from strength to strength. The indication is that she is making excellent progress and is very happy in her new school. In addition, in just over a year from instruction, we were able to achieve settlement of the personal injury claim. Virta received a sum worth in excess of 5 million to ensure her continuing care and support, now and in the future. Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise