Cameraman: road accident ruined career

A television cameraman whose career was wrecked by head injuries in a road accident has launched a legal battle for compensation of more than £300,000.

Timothy Morris had hoped to become a television presenter for Birmingham Live TV, but after the accident on Christmas Day 1995, he suffered problems with memory and concentration.

Morris accepted a payment of £29,500 from driver Dennis Kimmings, but says this was not enough and that he was badly advised by his solicitors, Stourbridge firm Higgs and Sons, and his barrister, Birmingham-based Michael Stephens.

Now Morris, who lives in Ceredigion, Wales, is suing the firm and Stephens for compensation of more than £300,000, and brands them negligent, in breach of contract and warranty, and guilty of misrepresentation and negligent mis-statement.

He was a front-seat passenger in Kimmings’ car when it collided with another vehicle as Kimmings tried to do a U-turn at Mucklow’s Hill in the West Midlands, according to a writ issued in the High Court.

He instructed the solicitors and the barrister to seek compensation for him, and accepted their advice to take £29,500 which Kimmings had paid into court, the writ says.

But the solicitors failed to investigate his difficulties at work before settling the action, the writ says. At Birmingham Live TV his work had been affected, and he had become the butt of practical jokes and cartoons, before he joined HTV as a camera operator and videotape editor.

Morris became worried about losing his job, but Higgs and Sons failed to call in medical experts to investigate his injuries, despite knowing he had problems with forgetfulness and had left expensive camera equipment on jobs, the writ says.

Higgs and Sons were given a series of phone calls and made notes detailing the problems he faced in his working life as a result of his injuries, and were told he received written warnings about his performance, it is alleged.

The firm negligently failed to instruct a consultant neuropsychologist to carry out comprehensive testing, failed to obtain all his medical notes and records, and provided him with incorrect advice about the value of his claim, the writ says. It is also alleged that Stephens negligently failed to advise properly on the evidence to be obtained, failed to make any reasonable assessment of how much the claim was worth, and advised undersettlement of the original claim.

Now Morris is seeking damages and an indemnity in case he is liable to meet any claim for legal costs from Kimmings.

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