- October 1, 2021
- By David Marshall
- 0 comments
Stansfield v BBC
On 8 February 2013 Jem Stansfield a presenter of the BBC’s popular science programme Bang Goes the Theory, was injured whilst working as a presenter when, as part of a scripted programme examining whether child seats operated better forward or rear facing, he was filmed as a human crash test dummy in a go-kart which was crashed multiple times to simulate a car crash. The engineering experts agreed that all the crash tests were conducted at a speed above the threshold generally considered to be safe and that conducting repeated tests over a short period of time is likely to have exacerbated the effect of any one test.
Liability was the subject of a prior agreement between the parties whereby the BBC agreed to be responsible for two-thirds of the damages awarded. After a trial to assess damages over 10 days in May and June this year, Mrs Justice Yip assessed damages, after the one-third deduction, at £1,617,286.20.
The Judge found that before the crash tests Mr Stansfield was “a high functioning individual, who worked hard in a job he loved and who was happy in his home life.” She found that in the crash tests he had sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, audio-vestibular damage, a whiplash injury to the spine and psychiatric injury. After the crash tests she found that he was “genuinely suffering a range of significant physical and emotional symptoms which mean that his life is substantially impoverished compared to the position before the crash tests.”
The judge heard a range of evidence from industry professionals. Mr Stansfield had a very rare set of skills, including presenting, engineering, producing and developing ideas and successful formats. He was an established presenter who had also worked behind the scenes for many years.
The matter was handled by David Marshall, Managing Partner at Anthony Gold. He specialises in brain and psychiatric personal injury claims. He is an APIL past president, honorary life member and fellow, a member and past chair of the Law Society’s Civil Justice Committee and a member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee. Anthony Gold briefed barrister Marcus Grant of Temple Garden Chambers who appeared for Mr Stansfield at trial.
Press Enquiries contact:
Mumtaz Hussain at Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP on 07972 071543 or 020 7940 4032
 The speed was agreed for three of the tests to have been 11.5 mph and one at 8.5 mph, but as there was no effective crumple zone or other protections available to occupants of normal motor vehicle, the force of the impact in these ‘barrier collisions’ was equivalent to a vehicle-to-vehicle collision at up to twice the speed
 Left-sided damage including to gravitational and angular motion sensors which cause balance problems, migraine, some hearing processing difficulties, and tinnitus.
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