Artist Awarded £3 Million in Damages Against Moped Driver

April 2022

An artist who made a claim against Aviva and the moped rider, for £33 million when run over by a stolen moped has been awarded more than £3 million in damages.

Manuel Mathieu, 35, was studying for a Fine Art Masters when, in November 2015, he was knocked down while crossing the road.

He spent nearly two weeks in hospital and brought a legal claim over the harm to his art career and earning potential.

Aviva, the insurers of the stolen moped, accepted liability for the crash and, following a trial, he was awarded  £3,178,741.64 in damages.

The judge heard detailed evidence of the artist’s career so far, the potential value of his work over the next decade, and how his creative endeavours have been hampered by lasting effects of the moped crash.

Mr Mathieu missed a December 2015 exhibition of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London while recuperating from the crash, and he moved to Montreal where he shared a studio with fellow artists Trevor Kiernander and Benjamin Klein.

He has been exhibited in the Tiwani Gallery in London and the prestigious Kavi Gupta in Chicago, had solo shows Art Brussels in Montreal, and enjoyed a one-month residency in Sonoma, USA, alongside noted art collector Pamela Joyner, the court heard.

The judge accepted Mr Mathieu was “currently on a potentially powerful upward trajectory in his career”, including a new show in London this month and being named on the Artnet website’s “12 artists poised to break out in 2022”.

She noted “sustained and rising interest in his work internationally”, as well as “increasing awareness in the art world in recent years of the need to recognise artists from diverse backgrounds”.

The court heard how Mr Mathieu suffered a brain injury as a result of the crash, on November 28, 2015, he had a black eye for the next eight months, initially struggled to sleep and chew food, and he has experienced fatigue, cognitive problems, and post-traumatic stress order.

 

She said Mr Mathieu “has made a very good recovery from his injuries …. (and) has gone on to enjoy a very successful artistic career.”

He was awarded damages based on his potential earnings, demand for his work, and the effects of the injuries he suffered on the rest of his life.

The judge decided not to make a damages award based on the artist’s fear of contracting dementia.

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