DE, RDH and ACH Collier-v- A Norton [2012] QBD

Date: November 23, 2012

Expertise: Personal Injury

Collier v. Norton  

Benjamin Browne QC acted for the insurers of the Defendant, Allianz, in this case which is thought to be the biggest personal injury award reported to date.

Agnes Collier, then aged 13, suffered high-level tetraplegia in the road traffic accident which also led to the death of her mother.  Agnes is left with no function in the legs and very limited useful function of the arms and hands.  Despite her severe disability she has nonetheless returned to school and achieved surprisingly good grades in both GCSE, and AS levels.

In approving the settlement the judge, MacDuff J, commented that, the case contained a substantial number of features which combined together to produce the very high value.  Such features are unlikely to combine together to produce a similar valuation in other cases.

These features included:

(1)               Very severe disability leading to the need for 2 personal attendants at least for much of the time.

(2)               The family home was a substantial house and the modifications and adaptations were unusually extensive and expensive.

(3)               Future accommodation claims were also at a very high level.

(4)               As an intelligent girl the Claimant wished to have, and could learn to use, very extensive aids, appliances and I.T. equipment.

(5)               The Claimant’s academic potential and family background were such that the future loss of earnings was claimed at a very high level.

(6)               The Claimant and her family were used to expensive holidays before the accident and to permit her to enjoy similar holidays in the future, assisted by her carers, would inevitably involve unusually substantial costs.

Upon a conventional basis of applying the Claimant’s lifetime multiplier to the PPO of £270,000 Claimant’s counsel indicated that the value of such PPO’s when added to the agreed lump sum amounted to a little over £15,000,000.

Following approval the Claimant’s solicitors suggested an overall valuation of £23,000,000.  Presumably this was on the basis of inflating the PPO for each year of the Claimant’s life expectancy and adding these inflated figures to the lump sum.