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Minimally Conscious Accident Victim Receives Seven-Figure Award

Accidents at work can have devastating consequences and it is very often true that no amount of money can ever make up for the pain and suffering involved. A case concerning a man in a minimally conscious state showed, however, that specialist lawyers can at least help to soften the blow.

The middle-aged man was working as acting foreman for a manufacturing company when the accident occurred. He was helping out short-handed contractors in the factory where he was employed when he fell from height. The precise circumstances of the accident remained unclear, but he had received no training whatsoever in working high up. He sustained catastrophic head injuries and has never regained consciousness.

His condition is closely aligned to a persistent vegetative state but he has retained some level of minimal consciousness. Cared for in a nursing home, he responds to contact with his wife and family. Experts are of the view that his condition will not improve and that his life expectancy is relatively short. His wife, however, firmly believes that he will get better and live for many more years.

After proceedings were launched on his behalf against the contractors and his employer at the time, primary liability for the accident was acknowledged. The value of his claim was disputed and it was argued that he was in part responsible for his own misfortune. However, those difficult issues were overcome and a £1,050,000 lump-sum settlement of his claim was negotiated.

Approving the settlement, the High Court noted that the money would be used to top up his NHS-funded care regime. The accident was a tragedy for him and his family and the Court was moved by the great difficulties his wife had faced in visiting him and assisting in his care during the COVID-19 pandemic. All involved in the case hoped that she was right in her conviction that his condition would improve. Her care for him since the accident had been quite remarkable.

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