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Peter Houghton

Call 2005

Personal Injury

Peter’s multi-track practice covers the following types of claim: road traffic accidents, accidents at work, slips and trips, highways claims, civil assaults, casualty fraud and motor fraud.

Representative examples of his recent work are as follows.

For Claimants:

  • Acting for a construction worker in his 30s who had one artificial eye since childhood and suffered a severe penetrating injury to his other eye in a building site accident. The Claimant developed a severe psychiatric disorder, as well as being greatly visually impaired. He was unable to return to work. Liability was denied. Following Peter’s successful application for a split trial and for disclosure of an unused expert report obtained by the defendant, liability was conceded. Peter was then led by Richard Lynagh QC in the assessment of damages, which was complicated by the Claimant’s history of alcoholism. There were claims for accommodation and for the loss of opportunity to become a director in the family firm. The case settled at a JSM for £1.4m.
  • Representing a man in his 40s with severe learning difficulties who broke his hip at a swimming pool when left unattended by his carers. There were no loss of earnings to be claimed, but claims were made for future surgeries and for intensive care and case management input around those surgeries. The case was settled for £200,000.
  • Acting for a man in his 40s who suffered a serious closed head injury and brain damage in a road traffic accident. Because of the complicated insurance position proceedings were issued against two motor insurers and the MIB. The Claimant was able to return to work within months of the accident. The case settled at JSM for £180,000.
  • Acting for a professional man in his 40s in a high-value claim arising out a severe knee injury sustained in a road traffic accident (settled for £200,000 days before trial).
  • Acting for a claimant in his 30s who sustained a serious knee injury and significant psychiatric and dermatological injuries following a fall from scaffolding. He could not resume scaffolding work but had retrained as a milkman. There were arguments about the aetiology of his ongoing symptoms and about what his pre-accident prospects as a scaffolder were. The case settled at a JSM for approximately £150,000, gross of liability split.
  • Representing a claimant in her 40s who injured her knee and subsequently developed low back symptoms and psychiatric symptoms. Whilst liability was admitted, the defendant at first made no offers, served medical evidence indicating that any injury resolved within a couple of weeks and disclosed surveillance footage. Peter’s input (conferences with and questions to experts, drafting the claimant’s statement and schedule, representation at a settlement meeting) led to a settlement of £60,000.
  • Acting for a claimant in his 30s who suffered a crush injury to his pelvis in an accident in which he was pinned against a telegraph pole by a reversing van. The driver’s insurers, having suggested that liability would not be in issue, changed tack and stated that it would, shortly before Peter’s involvement. Peter successfully resolved the issue of liability and steered the claim through (with the involvement of orthopaedic, psychiatric and pain experts) to a six-figure settlement.
  • Acting for a claimant in his 20s who suffered numerous severe lower limb injuries in a fall from scaffolding. Liability is in dispute and the case, which is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, is ongoing.

For Defendants:

  • Appearing successfully for a defendant highway authority at first instance and on appeal in a case concerning the s.58 defence and the scope of the Court of Appeal decision in Wilkinson v. York City Council.
  • Acting for a landowner sued by a neighbour who was struck on the head by a branch falling from the landowner’s tree and suffered a brain injury. Following Peter’s involvement in drafting correspondence, applying successfully to amend the Defence and negotiating on behalf of the client, the claim was withdrawn weeks before trial on satisfactory terms.
  • Representing an NHS trust sued by a psychiatric patient who suffered severe lower limb injuries. In this quantum-only matter the claimant asserted that he had developed diabetes and severe agoraphobia because of his orthopaedic injuries. His schedule was pleaded in excess of £1.1m. Peter acted for the trust at a JSM and offered a maximum £200,000, which the claimant rejected. Subsequently the claimant accepted the offer of £200,000 long out of time, bearing a significant portion of the defendant’s costs.
  • Acting for a defendant local council in a case where the claimant accidentally blinded herself in one eye and suffered a severe aggravation of her pre-existing psychiatric condition. The claim was pleaded in excess of £150,000. Peter represented the council at a JSM at which the matter was settled for only £50,000.
  • Acting for a defendant following a road traffic accident in which liability was admitted. Following disclosure of surveillance evidence and a successful application by Peter for permission to rely on it, Peter settled the case at a JSM for a fraction of its pleaded value.
  • Acting for a defendant in a quantum only matter following a road traffic accident. The claimant suffered a broken collarbone which failed to unite. However, he also claimed a panoply of symptoms including an exacerbation of his Crohn’s disease, which (he said) left him unable to work. Peter scrutinised the claimant’s DWP records and drafted correspondence disclosing surveillance evidence and making arguments about the contents of the records. He also drafted correspondence to the DWP seeking a review of a certificate of recoverable benefits. Shortly thereafter the claim settled for just £25,000 whereas it had been pleaded well into six figures.
  • Successfully defending numerous LVI trials throughout the country.

Peter has experience of CRU appeals and CICA claims.

Selected Cases

  • Furnell v. Flaherty t/a Godstone Farm [2013] EWHC 377 (QB) (led by Jonathan Waite QC) – following the outbreak of E.coli at Godstone Farm. The case concerned whether the Health Protection Agency or the local council’s environmental health officers owed a duty of care to visitors to the farm in tort.
  • John Ruskin College v. Harley [2013] EWHC 3714 (QB) – recovery of money mistakenly paid out of Court to claimant.
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Qualifications


  • MA (Hons) (Cantab) (Double First Class)
  • MPhil (Cantab) (Distinction)
  • CPE (City) (Distinction)
  • BVC (ICSL) (Outstanding)
  • Lord Brougham and Lord Denning Scholarships (Lincoln’s)

 


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