Paralympic star loses fight to halt medicals
An Olympic torch bearer awarded £4m for horrific crash injuries must submit to insurers' plans to subject him to intermittent medical assessments, despite his plea that they are unnecessary and invasive.
David Follett, 23, first made headlines last April when he put on a revolutionary "bionic" suit, temporarily enabling him to walk, despite catastrophic spinal injuries sustained in an accident five years ago.
The paralympic badminton star was once more in the public eye when he carried the Olympic flame during part of its journey – although he had the ill-luck to be holding it when it suddenly fizzled out while he was taking it through a Devon village.
Mr Follett's case reached London's Appeal Court as he took on insurers, Aviva, in protest at their plans to require him to undergo periodic medical assessments in connection with a £4m payout he won in December 2011.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Mr Follett, from Newton Abbot, settled his case for a lump sum of £1,652,700, plus annual, index-linked and tax-free payments of £52,500 for the rest of his life to cover the costs of care and special equipment he will need. The compensation is being paid by Aviva who insured a motorist whose car struck David on Exmouth sea front in April 2007, rendering him tetraplegic.
Lawyers clashed over Aviva's demand that Mr Follett undergo periodic medical examinations so that the insurers can evaluate, amongst other things, his life expectancy and state of health, in order to investigate whether to purchase a new "annuity" for him.
Mr Follett's QC, Stephen Killalea, argued that the examinations would amount to a straightforward "invasion of privacy" and could involve straying into "intimate" areas of his life.
But Aviva's legal team insisted that the examinations were part and parcel of the compensation package, also disputing that they would be gratuitous or invasive.
The examinations would only be requested when absolutely necessary and probably no more than once every seven years, argued Aviva's QC, Tim Horlock.
The vexed legal issue, which has wide implications for the insurance industry and seriously injured accident victims, came before three top judges who ultimately ruled against Mr Follett, although modifying the insurers' proposals.
Mr Follett's solicitor, Stephen Nye, earlier said the disabled athlete was sick of seeing doctors and lawyers after years of litigation. His lawyers argued that the only real reason for the examinations was for the insurers to best manage their funds.
Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Richards, said he could see the force of both sides' arguments
Lord Justice Leveson granted Aviva an order allowing it to "require the claimant to undergo medical examinations at its request upon reasonable notice being given".
However, he diluted the insurers' proposals so that, save in exceptional circumstances, the examinations are "limited to obtaining a medical opinion as to the claimant's general health".