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Avery Assinder v Oliver Griffin (2001), Queens Bench Division

7 August 2002
The issues

Personal injury – damages – road traffic – whiplash.

The facts

The Claimant, a 34-year-old woman, was injured when her car, which had been stationary in a line of traffic, was hit by the Defendant’s car. The accident occurred on the 6th November 1996. The Claimant sustained a whiplash injury to her neck, which had not resolved itself by the date of Trial. The injury was a soft tissue injury and had left the Claimant in a permanent state of chronic pain for the past 4Ω years. She also received minor injuries to her ankle and back, which had since resolved.

The Defendant had accepted liability for the accident. The Claimant had qualified as a Vet in 1996 and in 1999 she passed a post graduate course in radiology.

The issues that arose in the case concerned the awards and quantum under the various heads of damage claimed and being the following:-

(i) General damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity – the Claimant claimed for the loss of her high quality of life, in particular the fact that she would have to work part-time and that she had also given up her sporting activities (which included horse riding, windsurfing, skiing, running and flying). Her prospect of marriage had been reduced and a promising relationship had been spoilt. Under this head, she also claimed for the help that she required from friends and family to help her in her everyday life;

(ii) Past loss of earnings – she claimed for the loss sustained from losing a previous job and the Solicitors fees from her Unfair Dismissal Tribunal afterwards;

(iii) Special damages – she claimed for damage to her vehicle, treatment fees, help from friends and family and gym fees;

(iv) Future loss of earnings – she claimed for earnings until she was 65 years old, the fact that she would not have had career breaks, net earnings, residual earning capacity and prospects of partnership;

(v) Other future losses were claimed for equipment, gardening, decoration, travel expenses, fitness club subscriptions, cleaning and on-line shopping.

The decision

The Judge disregarded all of the contentions put forward by the Defendant regarding the awards and quantum sought by the Claimant. Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity were assessed at £30,000.00 with reference to the JSB Guidelines. Past loss of earnings were assessed at £22,281.00. Special damages of £17,002.00 were awarded to the Claimant. The total awarded for future loss of earnings was £529,483.00 and added to this were other future losses of £114,915.00. The total sum awarded to the Claimant amounted to £708,243.00.

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