Highest ever personal injury payout awarded to cyclist

  • Posted

Posted 15/09/2010

The UK’s largest ever compensation payout for a personal injury claim has been awarded to Manny Helmot, a former champion cyclist.

Having represented Guernsey at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, the rider was struck by a vehicle during a training ride later that year.

He spent 36 weeks in hospital and was left with severe injuries, including brain damage, which meant he now needs 24-hour care and has lost the use of his right arm, the Daily Mail reports.

Rose Helmot and Ken Jordan, the cyclist’s mother and partner, launched a claim for compensation and initially secured a payment of £9 million.

However, that figure has now been raised to £14 million on appeal.

“The extra money will make all the difference in the world,” Ms Helmot said after the hearing.

“His life was ruined, but at least we can now afford to give him the care he needs for the rest of his days.”

Mr Helmot’s payout exceeded the previous British record for a personal injury claim, awarded earlier this year to Wasim Mohammed of Walsall after he was paralysed in a car accident.

Simon Davis, a personal injury partner at Ashtons Legal, comments: “This is an astonishing award and clearly fully deserved following the devastating injuries suffered by Manny and the care package he needs but, at the moment, it is unique to Guernsey.

“When any claimant receives damages for future loss, the award, if paid as a lump sum, is discounted on the basis that the sum can be invested now to generate interest or income in the future. Actuarial tables are used to predict future income based upon investing in Government index linked securities. Manny’s team successfully argued that the discount rate of 2.5 per cent set in 2001 should not apply to this award.

“The 2.5 per cent rate has been criticised extensively in recent years as not being realistic and, in England and Wales, the courts now commonly award index-linked annual payments to reduce the likelihood of serious under-compensation. However, these cannot be awarded in all circumstances.

“In Guernsey, both the court that awarded in excess of £9 million in January and the appeal court that has just awarded more than £14 million accepted that the 2.5 per cent rate could not stand in the light of the current return on Government index linked securities. Based upon an analysis of the current rate of return, the figure to be applied was 0.5 per cent. To reflect increased inflation of earnings and carer earnings, a second rate of -1.5 per cent was used.

“It is to be hoped that at some stage the position will be remedied for all claimants in England and Wales. This would help to ensure those whose injuries will continue to affect them long into the future will not find their compensation runs out too soon.”


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