Case studies

Sizeable payout after French car accident ends work sabbatical


We recovered £750,000 in damages for a client who suffered multiple injuries in a road traffic accident in France. The settlement was particularly significant since the defendant’s French insurers originally offered EUR 11,000 in compensation.

Liability was conceded by the insurers at an early stage and our specialist team then proceeded to evaluate the claim. Our client’s injuries included a trapped nerve in his right wrist, a groin injury which led to a hernia, an injury to his foot, several broken teeth, exacerbation of a previous neck problem, extensive bruising and soft tissue damage. He also sustained a minor head injury which led to post-concussion syndrome causing problems with memory, concentration, anxiety, fatigue and low mood over a two year period.

Following four years of litigation, we persuaded the French Supreme Court that an English court would be the correct jurisdiction to determine the claim. This was very much to our client’s advantage since it meant he could recover damages according to English law, resulting in a more generous award.

The accident occurred at an important time in his career, at the end of a year-long work sabbatical when he was just about to establish a telecommunication consultancy business. By the time he had recovered enough to be able to recommence his work, he had lost ‘relevance’ in the market and his skills were no longer in demand. We therefore argued that he deserved a substantial award for loss of earnings and for missed opportunities.

The defendant’s insurers contended that our client’s inability to secure a similar level of employment was unrelated to his accident. They maintained that any loss of earnings should be restricted to a two year period when he was unable to work.

It did not prove possible to settle the matter at a joint settlement meeting and the case therefore transferred to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court for a seven day trial. In the run up to the trial, the defendants made a Part 36 offer of £750,000, plus costs, which was accepted. Our client was thrilled with the outcome.


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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP