£1.7m award for David Knifton QC and Simon Vaughan

January 9, 2019

Following lengthy negotiations in a Joint Settlement Meeting in South Wales, David Knifton QC and Simon Vaughan have secured an award of damages of £1.7m on behalf of a young woman who suffered a severe brain injury and multiple fractures to her pelvis and leg whilst travelling as a passenger in a friend’s car.

The accident happened in July 2013, as the Claimant and 2 other friends were being driven back to a campsite in Devon having visited a local supermarket. The driver, who was subsequently sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drove her Peugeot 106 at excessive speed, whilst removing her hands from the wheel to light a cigarette, to change the music playing on her phone, and to dance. As she entered a left hand bend, she lost control of the car, crossed into the opposite carriageway, and struck an oncoming vehicle, before spinning and colliding with a concrete post at the roadside. Although she escaped largely unharmed, her 3 passengers suffered serious injuries, requiring each of them to undergo life-saving surgery.

The most serious injuries were suffered by the front seat passenger, a young woman from Barry, who was fortunate to have survived. Overall, she had made a remarkably good recovery, although her brain injury had resulted in loss of her left-sided field of vision, impairments of memory and concentration, and some subtle behavioural difficulties. In addition, she suffered multiple orthopaedic injuries, particularly to her left leg and pelvis, which had left her with a shortened leg, permanent back pain, and significant mobility restrictions. She will need to undergo complex leg-lengthening surgery and hip replacements in the future, and her intended career as a fitness instructor and ice-skating coach has been irreparably damaged.

The award, which is subject to court approval, compensates her for lifetime loss of earnings, as well as providing paid support to enable her to regain her confidence and participate in a greater range of activities, including raising a family.

Commenting on the settlement, David Knifton QC said: “This tragic accident blighted the lives of all those involved, and could easily have been fatal. It is to her immense credit that my client has made such a remarkable recovery from her life-changing injuries. Although she will never be able to fulfil her dream of pursuing a career as an ice-skating coach, she has worked extremely hard to obtain further college qualifications, which I hope will enable her to find part-time work in the future. She has been very fortunate to have the love and support of her family and fiancé. This award will provide her with the financial security to be able to purchase a home and to raise a family. I wish her every success for the future.”

David Knifton QC and Simon Vaughan were instructed by Lisa Gunner of Thompsons Solicitors, Bristol. They are both members of the personal injury team at Exchange Chambers.