BBC presenter wins £1.6million payout after being used as crash test dummy

A TV presenter who volunteered to take part in a human crash-test dummy while hosting a BBC science show has won £1.6 million from the broadcaster for injuries he sustained.

Jeremy Stansfield, known as Jem, sued the BBC for £3.7m after claiming he lost his “stellar” broadcast career after suffering life-changing injuries while filming BBC popular science show Bang Goes the Theory.

Mrs Justice Yip oversaw a trial at the High Court in London earlier this year and delivered a ruling on Friday.

Jem, 46, claims that he suffered disabling whiplash, brain damage and psychological scars from the impact of the stunt.

The presenter claims he was injured when he was strapped into a specially designed rig and catapulted along a track and into a metal pole to mimic the effect of hitting a lamppost in a car.

Jem Stansfield is receiving a payout from the BBC

In April, a court heard the presenter’s lawyers say that Jem was injured whilst filming an episode for series two of Bang Goes the Theory – which saw Jem and co-hosts take a hands-on approach to “investigating the science behind the headlines”.

In court documents, his lawyers told the stunt left him with “soft tissue injury to the structures around the spine” as well as a “subtle brain injury” caused by the shock “the repeated acceleration/deceleration forces generated by the crash-tests”.

Other alleged effects of the accident include dizziness, psychological damage and a possible carotid or vascular injury, with medics describing his condition as “complex”.

In court documents, Mr Stansfield’s lawyers stated that his pre-accident medical history was “unremarkable” and the current chances of further significant recovery are “poor”.

They claimed that without the effects of the crash testing he could now be earning up to £500,000 per year, and that he had dazzling prospects as his talents spanned creativity, writing, presenting and engineering.

His lawyers said he would have been earning at the same level as top TV stars, adding that “Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond…may provide a good source of comparison”.

London’s High Court heard also heard that his crash testing injuries have taken a heavy toll on his energy and working life.

The court heard that the issue of liability in the case has already been settled, with the BBC agreeing to pay Mr Stansfield two-thirds of the full value of his claim after a discount for his own “contributory negligence”.

The host suffered life-changing injuries while filming BBC popular science show Bang Goes the Theory

Jem claims he suffered disabling whiplash, brain damage and psychological scars
Dragonfly TV)

In the broadcast footage of the crash test process, Mr Stansfield is heard saying he feels “a little nervous”, before adding: “Tests make me confident I will walk away, but what we don’t know is how my body will behave.”

His cart is then seen slamming into the metal pole and his head jerking back before he announces: “There’s definitely an impact.”

The BBC agreed that Jem was due a payout but they vigorously disputed the impact and degree of Mr Stansfield’s injuries and how much he was due in compensation.

The BBC’s QC, Jonathan Watt-Pringle, said it contests Mr Stansfield’s case and “require him to prove that the unusual array of symptoms of which he complains arose from disabling organic brain damage, vestibular or whiplash injuries and/or disabling psychological injuries in the crash tests”.

In a brief pre-trial hearing earlier this year, his barrister, Marcus Grant, told Judge Victoria McCloud that the presenter is still suffering badly from the injuries he sustained filming the stunt.

“Mr Stansfield struggled to fight on after the accident and then went off work and into a cycle of decline in 2014. There is acceptance on all sides that he is a very unwell man,” he said.

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