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Dorington v Lawrence, Bristol District Registry

26 November 2001
The issues

Brain damage – Quantum – Future care – Discount – Independent living fund – Roberts & Johnson.

The facts

The claimant was knocked from his motorbike by the defendant’s car on the 31 March 1991. He was 20. Liability was settled with judgment settled at 85% in the claimant’s favour. The claimant suffered brain damage. He continued to suffer from epileptic seizures. He had left sided visual loss, left sided limb weakness, left side sensory disorder and serious behaviour disorder. There had been a major deterioration in his physical and intellectual capacity. He had been cared for by mother and sister before trial when 24 hour paid care was to about to be put in place.

The decision

1. General damages of £135,000 would be awarded, which was just below the top end of the bracket since the claimant was still able to do and enjoy some limited things.

2. A discount of one fifth would be made for the commercial care rate in respect of voluntary care.

3. Payments made from Independent Living Fund to help with the cost of paid care was deductible from the award of damage.

4. No Roberts v Johnston award would be made, as claimant would probably have left home and obtained his own accommodation by the relevant date.

5. Although the claimant had only been employed for a short time before the accident as a sales man. It would be reasonable to assume that he would have continued to earn a net average wage of non-manual employees.

6. A multiple of 22.75 was appropriate.

7. There would be no discount for the possibility of continuing family care as 24hr professional care was needed – professional care is assessed at £57,000 per annum.

8. Damages for the future cost of speech, music and occupational therapy would be allowed.

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