£930,000 settlement for brain injury victim following fall from boat

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£930,000 settlement for brain injury victim following fall from boat

30th November -0001

A Devon man who suffered a severe brain injury when he fell more than six metres to the ground from a yacht in dock overseas has received £930,000 in an out of court settlement.

Katherine Allen, head of the Travel and International Litigation Department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the man, who is in his 30s, was left with a number of disabilities including permanent damage to his vision following the incident which occurred more than two years ago.

“My client was receiving an induction on his first day as a crew member on board a dry-docked yacht when the colleague looking after him had to fetch some gear from a warehouse,” said Katherine, a partner with the firm. “He told my client that the yacht’s windows would have to be cleaned later that day and he would be back in a few minutes.

“He was a short time later found on the quayside with severe injuries, presumed to have fallen a distance of more than six metres from the top deck of the yacht.”

Having sustained a severe injury to his brain as well as multiple skull fractures, the young man was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he underwent an operation to drain excess bleeding from around his brain. After four weeks of treatment he was repatriated to a specialist rehabilitation hospital in the UK where he remained for a number of weeks before he was then discharged to a residential care unit for brain injury victims.

“This was a complex case as there were several jurisdictions involved,” said Katherine. “My client is a British national who was working in New Zealand on board a yacht that is registered in the Caribbean, managed by a firm in the United States and insured by a company with representatives in the UK. As it was his first day he hadn’t yet received any training or instruction on the use of safety equipment.  We had to conduct a detailed analysis of the law in each of the countries that had any connection to the accident, both in relation to issues of liability and quantum of damages, and consider which country’s law was most likely to be applied.”

Katherine said establishing liability based on common law negligence on the part of our client’s employers and/or the owners of the yacht, was extremely difficult. “We entered negotiations with the insurer’s representatives and, despite there being no admission of liability, a settlement was agreed on the basis that the insurers of the yacht agreed to pay my client £930,000 for the losses incurred to date as well as the loss of earnings and rehabilitation costs he has and will incur as a result of his injuries.

“My client was in a wheelchair and unable to even feed himself for a number of months following his accident,” she said. “Since then, his condition has improved remarkably.  This is in no small part due to my client’s determination and the laudable and eminently practical approach of the insurers, who ensured that my client had access to the best rehabilitation facilities possible from the moment they became involved.   Although he is now living and working independently, he continues to suffer with a number of significant disabilities.

“Sadly, his brain injury has caused him to lose half his field of vision in both eyes - something he’s been told is unlikely to improve,” added Katherine. “In addition, his speech, language, memory and mental reasoning are generally much slower and less precise than they were previously. Despite these ongoing difficuilties we are pleased the settlement he has now received will help as he continues with his recovery and rehabilitation.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious head and brain injuries.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.