JP v ATLAS HOTELS (GROUP 2) LTD (2018)

This case appeared in issue 20 May 2019  in Lawtel  PI Bulletin.

Total Damages: £20,000 (£19,964.99 RPI)

PSLA: £16,000 (£15,971.99 RPI)

Trial/settlement date: 27/12/2018

Judge: DJ Comiskey

Type of Award: Child Settlement Approval Hearing

Court: Out of Court Settlement (Approved, Slough County Court, DJ Comiskey, 27/12/2018)

Age at trial: 7

Age at injury: 2

Sex: Male

The claimant, a 7-year-old boy, received £20,000 for the laceration he sustained in a hotel room whilst on holiday in August 2014. He was left with a 3cm long permanent scar above the left eye and suffered approximately 10 weeks of anxiety and disturbed sleep.

Occupiers’ Liability: On 9 August 2014 the claimant (C) was staying with his family in a hotel room owned and operated by the defendant (D). Whilst partially asleep on a sofa bed he rolled out and struck his forehead on part of the exposed metal apparatus of the bed.

C sustained injury and brought an action against D alleging that it breached its statutory duty under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 s.2 and was negligent in failing to take reasonable care to ensure that the hotel room was reasonably safe for guests.

Liability admitted.

Injuries: C sustained a laceration to the left side of the forehead.

Total injury duration: permanent

Effects: C was taken to hospital where the wound was closed with Steri-Strips. Over the following weeks it remained sore and itchy. C found the incident traumatic and emotional and developed distressing acute stress symptoms, mild mood and disturbed sleep, separation anxiety and elevated general anxiety.

After several weeks the wound healed but left a white, faded, irregular-shaped scar approximately 3cm long which started approximately 1cm above the left eyebrow and extended vertically towards the hairline. It was visible from conversational distance.

C’s emotional symptoms persisted for approximately four weeks after the accident. However, when he started primary school he suffered a resurgence of the symptoms for between four and six weeks due to a period of bullying and name calling by other students. During that period he was reluctant to show the scar and he grew his hair longer to cover it and attend school.

Prognosis: C’s scar was permanent and would become wider as he aged. There was a 30 per cent chance that it would widen significantly enough that revision surgery would be appropriate.

Out of Court Settlement (Approved): £20,000 total damages

Background to damages:

Expert evidence was provided by a consultant plastic surgeon.

C claimed for camouflaging make-up products on an annual basis and camouflaging make-up consultations on a periodic basis until the skin matured.

The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages. However, the following breakdown was estimated by the claimant’s solicitors:

Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £16,000.

Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288 10 per cent uplift: applied.

Express Solicitors Ltd (Manchester) for the claimant.

This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of Catherine Moore of Express Solicitors Ltd, solicitors for the claimant

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