Mark Pollock explains: ‘Why I took this case’

Adventurer had damages claim against his friends upheld in London High Court

On Thursday, a Hugh Court judge in London upheld adventurer Mark Pollock's claims for damages against his friends Enda and Madeline Cahill after he fell out of a first floor window in their home in London in 2010.

Mr Pollock, who was the first blind man to reach the South Pole, suffered catastrophic spinal injuries in the accident.

The following is a statement from Mr Pollock taken from his blog, explaining his decision to claim for damages after the window fall at the Henley Regatta in London.

“The headlines that said that I was suing my friends were misleading and provocative. 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. They did not have 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.

Limiting the Claim

It is important to me that you know that I expressly limited my claim for damages to the cap on my friends’ insurance policy. This is a fraction of the financial cost I bear as a result of the fall. But I did not think it fair that my friends would have even one moment of worry that they would have to personally pay me a penny.

Why I took this case

This was the culmination of a process that took almost 5 years. During my initial 7 month stay in the National Spinal Injuries Centre in the UK the other paralysed patients and I were advised by healthcare professionals, social workers and legal experts. They told me that life after spinal cord injury is incredibly tough and in their experience it is especially so for those who do not receive a payment of damages for their injury.

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. As the press reported, the costs when anyone is paralysed run to the millions.

I was told 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.

And finally…

I hope you understand that I took this case because it was not right to carry out public fundraising without also making a claim on a public liability policy in place for the purpose of covering some of my care and rehabilitation costs. I took both expert advice and advice from my friends and many of you who have supported me through some really tough decisions, but ultimately I took this case because I believed that it was the right thing to do in the circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.