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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Mark Pollock in line for £2 million payout - but none of it will be paid by his friends

The motivational speaker and adventurer said he limited his claim to ensure his friends did not lose a penny.

THE JUDGE PRESIDING over Mark Pollock’s damages case has ruled in the Irish adventurer’s favour.

Pollock, who is blind, sued his friends Enda and Madeline Cahill in relation to the 25-foot fall out of an open window he suffered at their home in Henley, England during the town’s regatta in July 2010.

In a statement this morning, his spokesperson said Pollock had limited the sum claimed in damages to the limit of his friend’s insurance policy, so that they would not have to pay anything personally.

“The claim was therefore limited to a fraction of its full value,” the statement said.

The 39-year-old was staying with the Cahills, who were good friends of his, when he fell through the window of his upstairs bedroom, suffering catastrophic spinal injuries.

Mr Justice Davis ruled that the open window created an obvious risk for a blind person, particularly on the second storey of a house with nothing to prevent a fall to the ground below.

He ruled:

I am satisfied that the Cahills failed to discharge the common law duty of care they owed as occupiers. The open window was a real risk to Mr Pollock. They created that risk.

Mr Pollock’s lawyers confirmed outside court that he had limited his claim to a maximum of £2 million, the limit of the Cahills’ household insurance.

Given the extent of his lost earnings and future care needs, that was only a fraction of the total value of his claim.

His solicitor, Ben Rogers, said: “Mark Pollock is a remarkable man and has conducted himself with the utmost integrity in relation to this claim and in relation to his paralysis.

Coupled with his pre-accident blindness, the incident has left him with enormous challenges in his life.

He added: “Mark limited the sum claimed in damages to the limit of his friends’ insurance policy, so that they would not have to pay anything personally. The claim was therefore limited to a fraction of its full value.

The damages that Mark will recover are essential to assist him with his additional care and rehabilitation needs following the accident.

Earlier in the case, he told London’s High Court that he was probably “on his way to the bathroom and was disorientated and tripped out the window”.

The accident left him paralysed, confined to a wheelchair and dependent on care.

Pollock lost his sight in 1998 at the age of 22 but went on to win bronze and silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

He has also taken part in extreme marathons and Ironman events and, not long before the accident, in June 2010, he completed the 1,400 mile Round Ireland Yacht Race.

Since the fall, Mr Pollock has also helped pioneer use of ‘robotic legs’.

Window

His legal team blamed Mr and Mrs Cahill, saying the window should never have been left open.

But the Cahills, of Woodview, Remenham Lane, Henley, denied the accident was in any way their fault.

Stephen Grime QC, for the Cahills, told the court it was a “very unusual, most unhappy case and tragic in many ways”.

In his ruling, Justice Davis found that “an open window did create an obvious risk for a blind person, particularly when it was on the second storey of the house with nothing to prevent a fall to the ground below”.

FAIL BETTER exhibition. Pi Mark Pollock Source: Photocall Ireland

Insurance company

“Last week, I was in court in the UK about the fall that left me paralysed in 2010,” Pollock said, in a written statement today.

“For legal reasons I could not talk about the case and in that vacuum there have been unbalanced accounts of the court proceedings in the media.

The headlines that said that I was suing my friends were misleading. My claim was made where there was a public liability insurance policy in place to meet the cost of accidents like mine.

“Most house insurance policies contain such cover for this exact purpose. Therefore the insurance company’s solicitors defended the case.

“My friends did not have to hire their own solicitors or incur any legal costs.

“They were never at risk of having to compensate me from their own pockets for the costs I bear as a result of my injury, the case was expressly limited to the cap on their insurance policy.

“Spinal cord injury is described as a ‘catastrophic injury’ because not only is it horrific for its physical and life-altering aspects, it is also prohibitively expensive.  I was advised to check all possible sources of insurance and home insurance policies.  So, as part of the process, I established that my friends had home insurance to meet my claim.”

Expanding on his reasons for taking the case, Pollock stressed that the action was in no way financed by the Trust set up in his his name to fund spinal cord research.

“While still in hospital some friends at home set up the Mark Pollock Trust and its independent board of Trustees,” he wrote.

“Supporters began donating, volunteering their time and expertise and, eventually, taking part in Run in the Dark.  The Mark Pollock Trust’s mission soon became to find and connect people worldwide to fast track a cure for paralysis.  Most recently, we employed a research scientist to help build a spinal cord injury research programme in Dublin.

“Those involved with the Trust also felt it was not right to ask individuals for financial support if I did not pursue this insurance policy for the very purpose of covering some of the costs associated with my injury.  However it is important to note that this case was not funded in any way by the Trust.”

With reporting from Strand News

Read: “He was snared by that trap” – Adventurer Mark Pollock sues for damages over paralysing fall

Read: Mark Pollock sues friends over paralysing fall at their home

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