The Supreme Court in the UK has given a landmark ruling that a woman should not be bound by an agreement to settle her personal injury claim.
Joanne Dunhill had settled her case for £12,500 after she suffered a severe head injury in a collision in Sheffield with a motorcycle in 1999. The claim was settled in January 2003 without the insurer for the motorcyclist, NIG, admitting liability.
But after Dunhill approached a new claimant firm, Manchester practice Potter Rees, she was able to argue in the High Court she did not have mental capacity at the time of the settlement. Her lawyers argue she is due significantly greater levels of compensation.
The motorcyclist, named as Mr Burgin, appealed to the Supreme Court, but in a judgment issued last week the court dismissed the appeal as Dunhill, now 53, ‘lacked the capacity to commence and conduct proceedings arising out of her claim’.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court said, a litigation friend should have been appointed to protect her position and ensure proper instructions were given for a full investigation and, importantly, to give the court an opportunity to approve any settlement reached.
In this case no settlement should have been approved by the court, the Supreme Court concluded.
full story via Supreme Court: PI claim not bound by agreed settlement | News | Law Society Gazette.