Belfast Telegraph

'My friends were never at risk of having to pay out,' says Mark Pollock after damages win over window fall

Mark was left paralysed from the waist down after the 25-foot plunge onto the patio of a friends' home in 2010

By Claire Williamson

A blind adventurer from Co Down, who is in line for millions of pounds in compensation after a 2010 window fall left him paralysed, has said his friends were "never at risk" of having to compensate him from their own pockets.

Mark Pollock from Holywood lost his sight at the age of 22 and, tragically, just three weeks before his wedding in July 2010 an accident left him paralysed from the waist down.

The 39-year-old sued Enda and Madeline Cahill, after the 25-foot plunge onto the patio of their home in the Oxfordshire town during the July 2010 regatta.

The Commonwealth Games medal winner was staying with the couple when he fell through the window of his upstairs bedroom.

His legal team, led by Mr Christopher Wilson-Smith QC, blamed Mr and Mrs Cahill at London's High Court, saying the window should never have been left open.

After a week-long trial at London's High Court, Mr Justice William Davis upheld his claim against the couple.

<< Mark Pollock in line for multi-million-pound compensation after suing over 2010 paralysing window fall >>

In a statement Mr Pollock said he limited the sum claimed in damages to the limit of the couple's insurance policy so that they would not have to pay anything personally as a result of his claim.

He continued that the damages costs are "essential" to assist him with additional care and rehabilitation needed following the accident.

Writing in his blog Mr Pollock said the case was defended by the insurance company's solicitors and that his friends were "never at risk of having to compensate me from their own pockets for the costs I bear as a result of my injury".

He said: "Last week, I was in court in the UK about the fall that left me paralysed in 2010. 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."

Mr Pollock continued outlining the expense of spinal cord injury.

He said: "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."

Following the accident Mr Pollock dedicated his time to searching for a cure for paralysis through the setting up of the Mark Pollock Trust.

He is now at the centre of a pioneering study in the hope of enabling victims of paralysis to walk again.

In his statement he outlined that the case was "not funded in any way" by the Trust.

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

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