An artist who says his career has been hampered after he was run over by a stolen moped is suing for almost £30 million in damages.
Manuel Mathieu, 35, was studying for a fine art masters at Goldsmiths when, in November 2015, he was knocked down while crossing a road outside the University of London college.
The contemporary visual artist says he suffered brain injuries and fears he could now be at risk of dementia in later life.
Since the accident, Mr Mathieu has gone on to build a successful career with comparisons to Francis Bacon and his work has been exhibited in the Perez Art Museum Miami and London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.
But he has now sued the rider of the stolen moped, Tony Hinds and insurer Aviva for just over £27 million in damages, arguing that he would have been even more prolific without the injuries.
“This is a gentleman who is doing very, very well, notwithstanding him having suffered a brain injury”, said Marcus Dignum QC, representing the insurer at the High Court.
“The case is about someone who says ‘I can’t make art to the same extent that I would have been able to if I had not been injured in this way’.”
The court heard the Haiti-born artist, who lives and works in Canada, says he was left with headaches and “significant cognitive issues”. “He says as a consequence of that ‘I am producing fewer works of art as I have to take frequent breaks’,” said Mr Dignum.
A preliminary judgment has already been entered in the case, making Aviva liable for the crash, and a trial is due to start on Monday at the High Court on the level of compensation owed to Mr Mathieu. He is seeking $46,280,874 (Canadian dollars).
The artist is set to be questioned on the headaches he says he suffers and whether he has sought treatment for a problem he says affects his ability to work. Art experts are also due to give evidence on the value of his work and potential earnings, while Mr Mathieu’s art contemporaries will testify about the struggles he says he has endured since 2015.
“The claimant is well-known and has given a series of interviews and articles in which he referenced the accident and its formative effects on him,” added Mr Dignum.
The trial is also due to consider Mr Mathieu’s alleged risk of developing dementia as a result of the head injuries he suffered.