Neville v NDS and Howley

David White secures substantial damages in High Court Admiralty Division spinal injury claim arising from a RIB accident at sea

David White secured substantial compensation for his client who had suffered spinal injury as a result of participation in what was meant to be a “Treasure Hunt by RIB” in the Solent.

Mr Neville’s employer had organised the event on work time as a reward to the staff for completion of a successful project. The Claimant was a passenger on a 9.5 metre Rigid Inflatable Boat and he suffered injury whilst crossing from Cowes (Isle of Wight) to Southampton when the RIB hit two large waves in quick succession.

The accident occurred at sea, hence liability was governed by the Athens Convention and the case was litigated in the Admiralty Division of the High Court. The claim was brought against the Claimant’s employer and the operator of the RIB experience. The Claimant’s case was that the “Treasure Hunt” was conducted inappropriately, with the RIB driven in an inappropriately aggressive and dangerous manner, particularly when the participants were a work group whose members had a wide range of ages and no prior experience of the sea.

Breach of duty, causation of injury and quantum were all in dispute, as was the scope of the employer’s non-delegable duty of care. The case was listed for a trial on liability and causation before the Admiralty Registrar (sitting with an expert assessor) in the New Year.

There was substantial expert evidence in the case on matters of weather, sea and tide state, and power-boating issues. The Claimant remains severely disabled as a result of his injury and he has not returned to work.

The claim settled at a joint settlement meeting for a substantial sum.

David was instructed to represent the Claimant by Matthew Claxson of Slater & Gordon Lawyers.