Exchange Chambers silk achieves one of the largest ever settlements for above the knee amputee

October 9, 2014

Gerard Martin QC and Catherine Howells from Exchange Chambers have achieved one of the largest ever settlements for an above the knee amputee.

The long-standing silk and his junior accepted £2.8 million in full and final settlement of all claims in a complex case.

Commenting on the settlement, Gerard Martin QC said:

“The sum achieved was despite having to factor into our valuation that this was a Rome 11 case. The applicable law was that of Belgium, where the approach to compensation is significantly more restrictive than our home jurisdiction.

“The restrictive nature of the compensatory jurisdiction of Belgium was a matter of debate between the Belgium law experts, but put very simply, the following principals of recovery served to limit the claim.

“Recovery for future loss was based not upon the balance of probability but upon the requirement that the loss had to be ‘concrete’, so that when it came to projecting career losses unless it could be proved that all one’s colleagues would obtain a promotion at a certain point, that rise in pay was irrecoverable. Losses had to be ‘certain’ so that where there was an element of doubt, for example, where and for how long accommodation of a certain type would have been required, unless it could be said to be that those requirements were certain, the claim would fail. Compensation based upon loss of a chance, unless that chance was very high, was not recognised. Belgium law compensates for losses which were necessary, not ‘reasonably necessary’ as in the English jurisdiction. My view is that had this claim been within our own jurisdiction the recovery would have been at least £1 million more.”

Continued Gerard:

“One of the newsworthy items in this case was the figure over £1 million for future prosthetics which was our realistic valuation of that which we would recover if the case went to a disposal hearing.

“We based our opinion upon the use of the latest intelligent knee, an X3 Genium Knee – the five year cycle of replacement cost was £85,593, to which was added the double-up costs in full for a second X3, to guard against being without the prosthetic during repair or service periods to which a periodic multiplier was applied. In addition we valued the cost of  sports prosthetics for mountain biking using a Bartlett Tendon knee, the five year replacement costs of which were £27,403.”

Added Catherine Howells: “Our client was a young active man whose priority was to maintain his independence and his outdoor lifestyle. This settlement, and the package of hi-spec prosthetics, will enable him to do so.”