Lives are ruined by road accidents, but the courage of victims and their families is a frequent source of judicial admiration. That was certainly so in the case of a young man who suffered dreadful injuries when he was struck down by a speeding motorcyclist.
He was 13 and pushing his scooter across a pedestrian crossing when he was hit by the motorbike at high speed. He suffered grave internal and musculoskeletal injuries, together with severe and diffuse damage to his brain. He was unconscious for two and a half months and his first basic communication came six months after the accident.
He was utterly dependent on 24-hour professional care during the two years he spent in hospital and, although he has some reading ability, his intellectual skills are largely at infant-school level. His concentration and memory difficulties led one expert to describe him as effectively amnesiac.
His own determination and the selfless support of his mother have, however, brought about an extraordinary improvement in his condition since he left hospital. With a 24-hour care regime in place, he was able to move into his own home and has coped well with the COVID-19 lockdown. He enjoys social engagement and the thrill of activities such as dry slope skiing.
Following negotiations, the motorcyclist's insurers agreed to pay a £6 million lump sum in settlement of his personal injury claim. He will also receive index-linked payments of £240,000 a year to cover the costs of his care and case management for life. The insurers will additionally pay £18,000 a year, index linked, to fund a professional deputy to manage his financial affairs.
The High Court had absolutely no difficulty in approving the settlement and praised both sides for achieving a just outcome of the case. Whilst noting that no amount of money could turn the clock back, the Court paid tribute to the mother for her outstanding commitment and love for her son. The mother responded that the settlement gave her the comfort of knowing that, if anything happens to her, her son and his care regime will remain financially secure.