In many road accident cases, assessing where responsibility lies is anything but a straightforward exercise. However, this difficulty was successfully tackled in a seven-figure settlement of a catastrophically injured pedestrian's claim.
The middle-aged woman was crossing the road when a car hit her, throwing her over its roof. She was not using a pedestrian crossing and there was evidence that she had not looked to her right before stepping off the pavement. She was, however, there to be seen and the driver, who said that he had been dazzled by the sun, may have been distracted.
The driver's insurers disputed liability for the accident, in which the woman sustained severe head and spinal injuries. After she launched personal injury proceedings, however, a settlement whereby the insurers agreed to pay her £3.2 million in compensation was successfully negotiated. That sum represented 72.5 per cent of the full value of her claim.
A provisional damages award was also agreed so that it will remain open to her to seek further compensation if her neurological condition deteriorates or if she goes on to develop uncontrolled epilepsy. The settlement is unlikely to affect her continued entitlement to state benefits, which amount to almost £52,000 a year. The High Court had no hesitation in approving the settlement.