David Knifton secures over £7m damages in tetraplegia case

September 24, 2015

At a joint settlement meeting on 22.9.15, David Knifton secured a compensation award in a tetraplegia case worth over £7m on behalf of a passenger who suffered catastrophic injuries in a road traffic accident.  Alex Pearson, then 23, was a front seat passenger in a taxi which skidded on black ice into collision with an oncoming vehicle in Bury on 29.1.10.  As a result, Alex, who had failed to fasten his seatbelt whilst texting a friend, was thrown against the A-pillar of the taxi, sustaining a fracture dislocation of his cervical spine with permanent damage to the spinal cord, which rendered him tetraplegic.  He is paralysed from the neck down, has no sensation in his arms, chest, abdomen or legs, is doubly incontinent and in need of 24-hour care from 2 carers.  His contributory negligence in failing to wear a seatbelt was assessed at 25% at a trial in October 2014, upon the basis that, had he worn one, his injuries would have been restricted to a modest whiplash injury lasting around 3 to 6 months.

Acting with Chris Melton QC of Byrom Street Chambers, and instructed by Slater & Gordon Solicitors, David Knifton negotiated a settlement which provides for lump sum damages of £3.4m and an annual periodical payment of £170,000 for the remainder of Alex’s lifetime to cover his care and case management costs.  The total value of that award was around £7.31m, the equivalent of almost £9.75m before the deduction for contributory negligence.  A significant proportion of the lump sum has been used to purchase and adapt a suitable bungalow. Slater & Gordon will now press the local authority for funding to meet the shortfall in Alex’s needs.

Commenting on the award, David Knifton said: “It has been a real privilege to represent Alex throughout his claim.  Despite sustaining such a catastrophic injury, his sense of humour never deserted him. The courage and determination he has shown in coming to terms with this life-changing injury and the enormous challenges which he has had to face is an example to us all.” 

David Knifton is a member of the personal injury department at Exchange Chambers.