The applicant applied for an interim payment of £850,000. He had been a passenger in a car and suffered severe brain injury in an accident. He was in a nursing home but wished to purchase his own accommodation, which cost £265,000 with adaptations that would cost £170,000. He argued that on full liability the damages possibly exceeded £4 million.

The defendants offered an interim payment of only £150,000, saying that the application for an interim payment was premature where there was considerable uncertainty about the future prognosis and uncertainty about future needs.

The Judge held that a claimant did not have to demonstrate that a certain sum was required to cover any particular need over and above the general need that an injured claimant had to be paid as soon as reasonably could be done. In general terms, the court was not concerned as to how the award was to be spent. The making of an interim award was entirely a matter of discretion for the court. On the evidence, it was likely the award was going to be much higher that £850,000.

Wade -v- Turfrey. QBD, 9 March 2007.

Assessment of future loss

The claimant was in his mid 20s and playing for a premiership football team when he was forced to retire. The world of professional football, with its relatively short but highly lucrative playing contracts, meant a substantial six-figure damages claim was made for future loss up to and including a possible longer term career in football coaching / management.

The claimant suffered a partial tear of the cruciate ligament. The claimant was negligently advised to have reconstructive surgery, which was negligently carried out. The issues were for how long would he had continued playing football, at what level, and after his playing career was over what career would he have secured?

The Judge held that on the evidence he would have stayed with his club under a contract negotiated for two years with scope for a three-year extension at the club’s option. At the end of that he would have continued playing, at championship level for a further two years assessed at 75 per cent and at division 1 at 25 per cent. He is then likely to have retired with loss in terms of loyalty payments, salary bonuses and fringe benefits and sponsorship assessed on that basis.

The chance of his becoming a manager after retirement were very remote. The difficulty of estimating that chance, for how long the job would last and so forth, was an exercise close to speculation, but it would not be just to decline to make any award at all because of the difficulty, and to do so would give no weight to the claimant’s coaching aptitude and qualities of dedication and leadership so an award of a lump sum of £60,000 would be appropriate for that.

Appleton -v- El Safty. QBD, 23 March 2007, EWHC 631(QB).