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PAL (A Child) v Davison, MacPherson & Colburn Ltd T/A Westbourne Motors and Aviva Insurance Ltd [2021] EWHC - Harry Peto, Temple Garden Chambers

12/05/21. This was an application for an interim payment made on behalf of the Claimant, a 13-year-old girl who suffered severe brain injury. She already received payments totalling £1,025,000 and seeks a further sum of £2m to enable a property to be purchased and adapted to provide for long-term accommodation needs.

Background

Liability is not in issue. The sole issue was the appropriate amount of an interim payment. The Defendants were willing to agree to £1,250,000. There was medical uncertainty as to matters such as life expectancy at this stage, which would be relevant in assessing awards for future loss.

A tenancy of a property suitable for the Claimant to live in was shortly to come to an end. An accommodation expert recommended the purchase of a bungalow which would be extended and adapted to provide what was required by the Claimant. The price would be between £800,000 and £1,250,000, and the cost of the works £570,000. A property was found and a price agreed at £1,190,000, with cost of works at £612,000.

The Parties’ Positions

A sum in excess of £500,000 remained from the previous interim payments but was reserved for the Claimant’s immediate needs. The Defendants accept the Claimant requires funds to meet immediate needs other than accommodation. Their approach anticipates that the Claimant would have the funds to purchase a property but there would be a need for a further payment to complete the necessary works.

The Court’s Approach

Eeles v Cobham Hire Services Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 204 summarises the approach to periodical payments of an interim payment. The first stage is to assess the likely...

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