Eduaction & Career
James graduated with a degree in law from Nottingham Trent University in 1988, qualifying as a solicitor in 1993. He joined Potter Rees Dolan as a Personal Injury Solicitor earlier in 2020 and says of his role here:
"I'm looking forward to working in a team dedicated to the practice of catastrophic injury law which, with its Welfare Benefits and Court of Protection departments, can offer a holistic service to clients."
James acted for the first claimant worldwide to have an elective amputation and osseointegration of a lower limb. Also acts for the first amputee claimant in Europe to have a LUKE arm, the only prosthetic with a powered shoulder.
Settlement at a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM) of claim involving a spinal process fracture in a young man in his 20s who had fallen through a skylight at work. Claim settled at a JSM for a seven-figure sum.
Child Brain Injury
Settlement on liability only at 80/20 of a claim for a brain injured child who ran away from her mother as she was taken out of a car on her driveway and into the road in front of a private hire car. Driver and his passengers blamed mother who was joined into proceedings as a part 20 Defendant, where D sought to blame mother entirely or otherwise secure a contribution, reducing his liability. Part 20 proceedings against the mother were discontinued with costs and interim of £175K. JSM 2 months before trial window held remotely by video link failed. Offers of one half through to two thirds of any amount assessed by the Court made in favour of the Claimant were rejected. James made a time-limited offer of 80% following JSM, which was rejected by the making of a counter-offer of 70%. The 70% offer was rejected, the time-limited offer of 80% was remade and eventually accepted on the last day for acceptance and approved by the High Court. The Claimant also received six-figure interim payment allowing much need rehabilitation to commence, and the Defendant was required to make a six-figure payment on account of costs as a condition of the offer.
Elective Amputation & Osseointegration
Settlement at £3.3M in a lower limb amputation case. Claimant underwent an elective amputation of right foot and ankle with simultaneous osseointegration carried out by Associate Professor Al Muderis in Sydney Australia in 2017, following receipt of an interim payment of £700,000 achieved after a contested application. He was only the second person in the world to have that procedure. The Claimant was also provided with an emPOWER electronic ankle, plus various prosthetic feet, and adapted transport. The Claimant was moved to a rented bungalow during the currency of the case so that he was able to be safe on the flat. The Claimant now has an almost normal gait and reports that he feels that his life is now better than it was prior to the accident!
James issued proceedings and obtained judgment for primary liability and a 6-figure interim payment following a contested application in a case of a 20-year-old woman who fell through an unguarded gap some 10 feet onto her head in licensed premises, sustaining a serious brain injury. Upon issue of proceedings, the Defendant changed solicitors and disclosed for the first time CCTV of the accident, in opposition to the Claimant’s application for an interim payment, alleging contributory negligence at 50% based on the Claimant allegedly being intoxicated and failing to take proper heed of her surroundings. These allegations and the Defendant’s offer to settle the case on an 85% basis were rejected. The Claimant made her own offer to settle at 95% to avoid a trial, which offer the Defendant rejected. (The case subsequently went to trial on the issue of contributory negligence in early 2020: the Claimant succeeded at trial 100% and she will now recover full compensation).
A traffic management worker in his 40s suffered a brain injury (including diffuse axonal and contrecoup injuries) in a rear end shunt – his motorway service vehicle being hit from behind by an HGV travelling at 60mph. Capacity was retained. Liability was denied – the driver was wanting to blame the Claimant’s employer for its organisation of the works, as opposed to his own failure to pay proper attention. The case was inherited in summer 2016 from previous solicitor with conduct, with a denial of liability and a settlement offer of just £60,000. James issued proceedings and an application for summary judgment was successfully made. A fresh provisional schedule was drafted and served in September 2017. The Defendant then made an offer of £850,000 in November 2017 and that offer was rejected. The Defendant made further offers of £1M and £1.25M which were both rejected. The Claimant counter-offered at £1.75M and the case was settled at £1.5M in early 2018.
Appeal from the High Court to the Court of Appeal against a finding of 10% contributory negligence following a trial against 3 Defendants. James’ client had suffered an amputation of his left arm at the shoulder following a trapping of his arm in a conveyor at D1’s recycling plant. D1 went into liquidation shortly thereafter. D2, the insurer for D1, sought to avoid the policy immediately following the issue of proceedings, having first denied liability. D3, the ‘umbrella’ employer (the Claimant was an agency worker) was then brought into the proceedings. At trial, D2 and D3 alleged that the accident was entirely the fault of the Claimant, saying that he had deliberately removed a guard and thrust his arm into the machinery! The Claimant succeeded at trial on liability only but was found to have been guilty of contributory negligence at 10%. That finding was overturned by the Court of Appeal sitting in Manchester in December 2017 and the Claimant will thus receive 100% of any settlement or damages awarded at trial.
Outside of work...
James has a newfound interest in gardening, which came about following his recent move to a house with a garden and fishpond - having spent most of his adult life living in city centre flats.