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Commonwealth of the bahamasCOMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
IN THE SUPREME COURT
Common Law Side
B E T W E E N
JOHN LIVINGSTON MCPHEE
Appearances: Norwood Rolle for the Plaintiff
No appearance by or on behalf of the Defendant
On November 1995 the Plaintiff was driving motor car number 61291 north on Sea Breeze Drive at the intersection of Sea Breeze Drive and Prince Charles Drive, New Providence when it collided with a motor vehicle driven by the Defendant. The Plaintiff’s evidence is that the resulting impact left him with head injuries which caused him to remain unconscious from the date of The Plaintiff caused a Generally Indorsed Writ of Summons to be filed in the Supreme Court Registry on 26th April 1996. A Statement of Claim was filed on 17th September 1997. His claim is for Damages in the sum of $45,563.10, Damages and Costs. An appearance was entered for the Defendant, and the Statement of Claim was served on the 22nd September 1997. The Plaintiff obtained Judgment in default of Defence on 12th November 1997 in the sum of $45,563.10 with damages to be assessed and costs to be The Plaintiff was the only witness to give evidence at the assessment. It is his evidence that after the aforementioned collision he knew nothing until sometime in December 1995. He was treated at the Princess Margaret Hospital, and at Doctors Hospital. The Plaintiff was transferred to Health South Rehabilitation Centre in Florida, where he spent six (6) months in A Medical Report by Dr. Kolyvas of Doctors Hospital outlines the particulars of injury between the period 20th November 1995, the date of admission, and 16th December 1995, the date of discharge. The reports were tendered into evidence by Mr. Norwood Rolle, and appear below: - DISCHARGE SUMMARY
This 24 year old male was involved in a car accident approximately 5 a.m. on November 20th, 1995. He was the driver of the vehicle and was hit by another car and subsequently thrown out of his vehicle. He initially arrived at the Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Room in an agitated confused state and then sent to Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas for a CT scan and was then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Doctor’s Hospital. His past medical history is otherwise remarkable. His examination on admission revealed that his vital signs were stable, blood pressure 120/60, pulse 110/min and regular, mucous membranes were pink, his periphery was warm, he was in no cardiopulmonary distress. His chest was clear, his abdomen was soft and flat. His musculo-skeleton examination revealed no obvious long bone fracture or pelvic disruption. Neurological exam revealed that he had a Glasgow Coma Scale of 10 with depressed level of consciousness and was opening his eyes to speech. His speech was incomprehensible. He would follow commands at times and he moved all limbs well at that time. His pupils were equal and reacted briskly to light. He had 4 cm laceration on the left side of his forehead and this was sutured in the Emergency Room at Princess Margaret Hospital. He had associated mild left periorbital hematoma and swelling of the upper lip. His ears and nose examination were normal. This CT scan at that time showed two small right hemispheric clots, a small one in the right frontal lobe and the other in the region of the linticular nucleus measuring 3 x 2 x 2 cm in diameter. His cervical C spine x-ray and CT scan of the C spine were normal. He was admitted to Doctors Hospital Intensive Care Unit and he was managed conservatively. The patient remained stable up to November 23rd, 1995, then he became less responsive, he would open his eyes to pain, his speech was grunting and he would localize the pain and not follow commands. His left side was not moving. CT scan of the head was repeated and a right basil ganglia increased in size however remained non-surgical. He was placed on Decadron and was continued By the next day he became more alert, the left leg was noted to be stronger and also the left upper extremity. His speech was appropriate but he remained confused and his eyes were opening spontaneously. Internal medicine was asked to see him for persistent pyrexia. A spetic work-up was done and blood culture grew Klebsiella Pneumonia and was sensitive to Rocephin. Neurologically the patient continued to improve with conservative management and he was eventually transferred to the regular floor on November 28, 1995. His Decadron was eventually tapered off. Serial CT scan revealed gradual resolution At the time of discharge, he was fully alert, oriented to place, month and year, speaking well and appropriately and he was lifting weights, 5lbs in the upper extremity, 7 ½ lbs in the lower extremity. Communications with Sunrise Rehabilitation Centre, in particular, Dr. Andrew Frank and Fran Hundly and they have agreed to take him on for further DISCHARGE MEDICATION: Dilantin 300 mg. O. D. There is no medical report submitted for the period after December 1995, and the Plaintiff states that he was advised by his doctors in Miami not to have any more CAT scans for fear of his developing brain cancer. The Plaintiff further states that the movement on his left-side was impaired, as was his short term memory. He was referred to the Health South Sunrise Rehabilitation Centre in Sunrise, Florida for therapy and it is his evidence that the therapy continued for six (6) months, during which he suffered pain. He cannot remember the pain he suffered because the injuries impaired his short-term memory. His vision was impaired, and he now wears prescription eyeglasses. At the time of assessment his left leg was still numb in the toe area. He has a visible scar on the left side of his forehead, and one on the top of his head. He experienced a temporary interruption of normal male sexual function. His doctors discontinued the Dilantin Medication in February The Plaintiff indicates that he is not as “intelligent and mentally quick” as before, but that he is completely recovered physically. He is now a Police Officer. It is his evidence that his car was damaged extensively and was a The evidence given by the Plaintiff appears to be credible, and is Account has been taken of receipts number 235882, 234324, 50776 and 232847 in the Patient Summary which is in exhibit “MP5”, and therefore the amounts stated thereon will not be allowed. The award for the Plaintiff’s medical expenses is as follows: The Plaintiff has tendered photographs showing the damage to motor vehicle #61291, and a repair and replacement estimate was prepared on his behalf by Strachan’s Auto Repair Limited. The estimate does not refer to the vehicle by its serial and license number, but is in respect of a “1987 Accuro Legend” with a photograph of the damaged vehicle superimposed on the THIS IS TO VERIFY THAT WE HAVE INSPECTED THE ABOVEMENTIONED VEHICLE AND FOUND THAT IT IS The Plaintiff purchased vehicle # 61291 from a car dealer in the United States of America. No receipt for said purchase was submitted. In order to determine the value of the vehicle I have considered values submitted from the Older Car Red Book of official used car valuations. The average low value of similar model is $7,225.00 and the average high value is $9,225.00. A value of $8,225.00 is allowed. The Plaintiff has submitted a receipt evidencing a payment of $929.08 for freight and that is allowed. While there is no receipt submitted for duty paid on said vehicle the Plaintiff’s viva voce evidence that duty and stamp tax was paid at a rate of 57% is accepted and a value of $4,688.25 is allowed. Loleta Sweeting v Renee Telford & Stafford Nairn CL 1230 of 1992 and Re Lorryman ( Kemp and Kemp at C2 – 041) have been submitted as a guide to the assessment of an award of general damages in this case. The injuries of the Plaintiff in Loleta Sweeting v. Renee Telford & Anor are not similar to those of the Plaintiff in the In the instant case the Plaintiff gave evidence that he has made a full recovery, and has since fathered a child. The Discharge Summary does not specify the number of days that the Plaintiff remained unconscious, but states that he was fully alert on 16th December 1995 when he was discharged. It would appear from said report that the Plaintiff was either unconscious or semi-conscious between the period of Although in the case of Re Lorryman the Plaintiff suffered similar injuries to this Plaintiff’s, the long term effect of the injuries in Re Lorryman was more severe. The award for general damages in Re Lorryman was 10,000.00 pounds sterling in 1993, or B$16,000.00 applying an exchange rate of 1.6 pounds sterling to the dollar. Having considered the medical report, the Plaintiff’s evidence and the cases submitted I am of the view that an award of B$15,000.00 is The Damages are therefore assessed as follows: - expenses
Interest is to run on the award at a rate of 10% from the date of this assessment until payment, pursuant to the Civil Procedure (Award of Dated the 1st day of August 2002
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