A TV presenter who was injured while taking part in a science TV programme has been awarded £1.6million in damages after taking the BBC to court.
In April this year, it emerged that the BBC was being sued by TV host Jeremy Stansfield after he volunteered to be a crash test dummy on a programme several years ago, resulting in his suffering whiplash.
Mrs Justice Yip of the High Court heard how Mr Stansfield – known as Jem – was hurt while carrying out the ‘crash tests’ while in a ‘rig’ that was specially designed for the BBC programme Bang Goes The Theory in 2013.
The TV presenter claimed that he lost out on more than £3m in potential future earnings after suffering from spine and brain injuries, with the BBC disputing his damages claim.
Mrs Justice Yip, who oversaw a trial at the High Court in London earlier this year, shared her ruling on Friday October 1, stating that she ‘found that the claimant was caused injury to his brain, spine and audio-vestibular system in the crash tests’.
‘While none of the physical injuries were particularly severe, the combined effect together with a psychiatric reaction have caused a constellation of symptoms and problems which have produced a significant impairment in the claimant’s functioning,’ she said.
‘The effect has been to derail the claimant’s successful career in television as well as to restrict his enjoyment of life more generally.’
Following the judge’s ruling, Mr Stansfield is to receive £1,617,286.20 in damages.
Mrs Justice Yip said that there was ‘strong evidence’ that before taking part in the crash tests, Mr Stansfield ‘was an exceptionally fit man’, having been aged 42 at the time.
The judge recalled how Mr Stansfield, who’s trained as an engineer, took part in the crash tests eight years ago, which saw him ‘strapped into a rig like a go-cart which was propelled along a track into a post’.
‘In the introduction to the piece, the claimant explains that he had calculated the experiment to give a similar crash profile to hitting a lamppost in a real car in an urban environment. The crashes were performed forwards and backwards twice each,’ she said.
‘It is not in dispute, and perhaps not surprising, that the claimant suffered some injury. What is contentious is the extent of that injury and the consequences for the claimant.’
The judge said that she found it ‘astonishing’ that anyone would have thought the activity ‘was a sensible idea’.
‘On his own account to camera, the claimant was simulating a road traffic collision of the sort that commonly causes injury,’ she said, acknowledging that ‘it might be thought that someone of his intelligence and scientific background might have appreciated the risk’.
She added that in the ‘finished piece’, Mr Stansfield remarks that he ‘wouldn’t recommend’ the exercise.
‘Equally, there was evidence that the BBC had actively sought advice, been warned of the danger, yet allowed the experiment to proceed,’ she said.
Mrs Justice Yip outlined how it wasn’t up to her to ‘determine liability’ for the injuries Mr Stansfield suffered, as that is to be ‘resolved by agreement between the parties’.
‘They have agreed to share responsibility for the injuries and resultant losses flowing from the crash tests to the extent that the BBC will meet two-thirds of the claim,’ she said.
In a statement sent to Metro.co.uk, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘We take the health and wellbeing of everyone who works for the BBC extremely seriously. We keep safety measures on set under constant review and we made adjustments following the incident in 2013.
‘We acknowledge the court’s judgment in this complex case and wish Mr Stansfield the best for the future.’
Credit: Original article published here.