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HORTON v POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER FOR DERBYSHIRE POLICE (2015)

Out of Court Settlement 26/5/2015

The claimant, a 22-year-old woman, received £7,000 for soft tissue and psychological injuries sustained in a road traffic accident in May 2014. She suffered injuries to her neck, back and shoulders which were expected to resolve within 15 months of the accident, and travel anxiety expected to resolve within 17 months post-accident.

Claimant: Female: 22 years old at date of accident; 22 years old at date of settlement.

Road Traffic: On 7 May 2014, the claimant (C) had been proceeding through a traffic light controlled junction on a green traffic light signal. A police officer had been driving an unmarked police car in the course of his duty as a servant or agent of the defendant (D). He exited from a nearby road proceeding on a red traffic light signal and collided with C.

C sustained injury and brought an action against D alleging that his officer was negligent in failing to stop at a traffic light controlled junction on a red signal, and in exiting into the junction and into collision with C’s established and proceeding vehicle

Liability admitted in part, 75/25 in C’s favour.

Injuries: C suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and shoulders with bruising to her legs and developed a specific phobia of travel anxiety with avoidance of travel.

Effects: C undertook a course of physiotherapy and required a week off work.

Her bruising resolved within five to seven weeks of the accident.

Her neck, back and shoulder symptoms were expected to resolve within 13 to 15 months of the accident, and the travel anxiety within 11 to 17 months. 

Out of Court Settlement: £7,000 total damages

Background to damages: D’s insurers put forward an offer in respect of liability on a 60/40 basis in D’s favor, citing the case of Griffin v Mersey Regional Ambulance (1997).   C rejected the offer on the basis that the cases differed in that in the instant case, the police vehicle was unmarked and witnesses could not agree as to whether the vehicle was displaying lights and signals as it entered the junction.

C’s solicitor put forward a counter offer in respect of liability on a 75/25 basis in her favour which was accepted by D’s insurers.

Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £6,215.15.

Breakdown of Special Damages: Policy excess: £400; Travel expenses: £24.40; “Skills For Life” course: £149; Postal charges: £6.40; Mobile phone repairs: £85; Petrol: £20; Prescriptions: £16.10; Travel tickets: £21.80; Phone calls: £62.15.

Body Part: Back – Leg – Neck – Shoulder

Condition: Anxiety