Amateur artist receives £165,000 after recovering from balcony fall
Our client had been living in England and working as an artist for several years when she fell more than 15 feet from a friend’s balcony.
While visiting the property of a friend, our client fell between 15 and 20 feet from the balcony to the ground below. Her claim focussed on the primary property owner’s responsibility under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 although, because of the circumstances of her fall, contributory negligence remained an issue throughout the case.
Our client sustained serious brain injury including a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage, as well as multiple orthopaedic injuries, several fractures of the vertebrae, injuries to her lungs, hypoxia, and internal hypercarbia. Initially gravely ill, she was was treated at Southampton General Hospital’s neurological unit before being moved to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester for rehabilitation.
Despite making an excellent recovery, our client continued to suffer as a consequence of her brain injury; her problems included impairments of working memory and concentration, rambling speech and difficulty keeping to one subject, social withdrawal and an altered personality.
Under Claire Watson’s lead, our team successfully achieved a lump sum award of £165,000. The case was a complex one – as our client had made a good recovery after her initial accident, it was difficult to prove she faced a real loss. However, Claire focussed on supporting our client throughout her rehabilitation and encouraged her to work closely with one of our independent healthcare-trained case managers who helped create effective coping strategies and secure the right level of domestic support.
Claiming loss of earnings claim was extremely challenging, with no demonstrable past history and little tangible evidence of the likelihood of future loss. Not only did our client come from a wealthy family but she also completed a post-graduate diploma in visual arts after her fall and was painting at the same level as before the accident.
Close liaison with family members was a key factor, including with our client’s son and daughter who lived abroad, and Claire painstakingly interviewed a large number of witnesses to support her case.
Eventually we were able to settle this matter out of court for a substantially higher sum than the £70,000 originally offered by the defendants. Not only did we achieve interim payments for our client but the £165,000 we ultimately secured on our client’s behalf also took into account a deduction for contributory negligence – and our investment department has been pleased to advise this client on the management of her financial affairs, both here in the UK and in her country of birth, in the years since her accident.
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