Reclusive victim's 10 year ordeal

Posted: 30th June 2012

A road accident victim will receive seven-figure compensation and has been spared future medical examinations which his lawyers said would violate his human rights.
The claimant, now aged 26, was a teenager when he was knocked off his moped by a van which turned into his path near his home in south London.
In a case described as "unusual" by High Court judge, Mr Justice Eady, the defendants wanted to continue medical examinations of the claimant after they agreed to settle his £7.5 million compensation claim on confidential terms.
The claimant's lawyers successfully resisted an attempt by the defendants to insert a clause into the settlement agreement which could have led to the claimant being required to submit to further medical examinations post-settlement.
The man suffered a 'pathological reaction' to the 2002 accident, resulting in depression which has left him reclusive and so shy that he has sometimes refused to allow doctors to examine him.
There was some dispute as to the extent of his injuries, but the defendants have agreed to pay a large proportion of the £7.5 million claimed. The settlement will take the form of a lump sum paid now and periodical payments to cover the cost of the claimant's care for the rest of his life.
Lawrence West QC, for the claimant, said that accepting the compromise avoided the ordeal that the claimant would be put through if his case went to trial.
Lawyers for the defendants argued that medical examinations of the claimant in future years would allow monitoring of any progress he makes. That, they argued, could potentially impact on future funding of the periodical payments.
But Mr West argued that the clause would violate the claimant's right to respect for his private and family life under Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly considering his "psychologically vulnerable state".
Mr Justice Eady said that he was unwilling to create a position where the court could "order the examination of an unwilling patient", and ruled that it would be unfair to insert such a clause in the settlement at such a late stage in the proceedings.