Mitchell v Aviva North London – £1.75m settlement

On 12 November 2013 Stewart J approved the settlement of Mr Mitchell’s claim in respect of traumatic brain injuries he sustained in December 2010 when he was knocked down by a double-decker bus outside Euston Station. The bus had been travelling at no more than 20 mph in a well-lit area and Mr Mitchell, who was 40 years old, was crossing Eversholt Street between moving traffic. Having reached the middle of the road there was evidence that he had paused, glanced toward the bus and then stepped forward, leaving little time for the driver to react. Although the collision was at low speed his injuries were serious and permanent. His trade union would not fund a claim but his father’s union provided initial help and he was then represented on a conditional fee arrangement. The essential allegation was that the driver should have been aware of Mr Mitchell as he was crossing and been ready to anticipate his eventual mistake in stepping forward. Liability was denied and a split trial was ordered. A month before that date a settlement meeting was arranged at which a lump sum payment of £1,750,000 was agreed. This reflected not only the inevitable finding of substantial contributory negligence but also the significant risk of not establishing primary liability. The Judge recognised those risks and readily approved the settlement.

William McCormick QC acted for Mr Mitchell, instructed by Adrian Fawden of Simpson Millar.