Judge ‘will have to consider injured TV presenter's potential earnings'
Lawyers representing a TV presenter embroiled in a damages fight with the BBC after getting hurt while playing the role of a “crash test dummy” during a science programme have told a High Court judge she will have to consider where is career would have gone.
Jeremy Stansfield, 45, from Hove, East Sussex, was injured while carrying out “crash tests” in a specially designed “rig” during the BBC programme Bang Goes The Theory, in February 2013, Mrs Justice Yip has heard.
Mr Stansfield says he suffered spine and brain injuries, lost more than £3 million in potential future earnings, and wants nearly £4 million in damages.
The BBC is disputing Mr Stansfield’s damages claim.
Mrs Justice Yip is overseeing a trial at the High Court in London.
Barrister Marcus Grant, who is leading Mr Stansfield’s legal team, on Wednesday told the judge that Mr Stansfield had “options” before being hurt.
“He had a number of options,” said Mr Grant.
“The court will have to take a view on where his career would have gone.”
Mr Grant has told the judge that Mr Stansfield had identified more than £600,000 worth of work that had been offered to him after the crash tests, but which he had to turn down because of health reasons.
He said after a while “the offers dried up” as “word got out” that Mr Stansfield was unavailable.
Mr Grant said there was evidence that Mr Stansfield had a “unique skillset” and that his career was entering a new phase.
He said Mr Stansfield had “signed up with a top agent” and was taking on “executive producer credits” which “monetised his creative ideas and writing abilities”.
The judge has heard that Mr Stansfield, who is known as “Jem”, is a self-employed “inventor, writer and presenter” who became involved in television programmes as an engineer and presenter in the early 2000s.
Mr Stansfield’s says “repeated acceleration-deceleration forces” generated by five crash tests in which he participated as a “crash test dummy” caused him “soft tissue injury to the structures around his spine” and “subtle brain injury”.
Lawyers representing the BBC dispute the assertion that Mr Stansfield “sustained the injuries and suffered the symptoms and losses alleged”.
They have told the judge that liability had been admitted subject to an agreed one third reduction for “contributory negligence”.
The hearing, which began earlier this week, continues on Monday.