A gravely injured road accident victim has settled her damages claim for a lump sum of £1,569,600 and periodical payments of £20,000 per annum, index-linked and tax-free for the rest of her life, on the basis of 75% liability. The claimant was aged 17 when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in the February 2007 accident. She was left with motor, visual and cognitive disabilities, but her lawyers said that she had made in many respects a remarkable recovery and it was hoped that she would one day be capable of managing her own affairs.
Although liability issues in the case were compromised, there remained a ‘very serious dispute’ between the parties in respect of the level of care, particularly night-time attendance, required by the claimant. Defence lawyers argued that ‘gross over-provision’ had been made for her with the assistance of interim payments and that that had ‘encouraged an air of dependency’.
The claimant’s case included arguments that she might marry in the future and incur child care costs as a mother, but her lawyers acknowledged that this was somewhat speculative. Given the breadth of areas of continuing dispute, a ‘sensible and pragmatic’ approach had been taken to settling the case on the basis that ‘nobody can know how things will turn out for the claimant’.
In approving the settlement, Mrs Justice Swift said that she was prepared to assume for the purposes of the application that the claimant lacked capacity. She added: “I hope that this substantial award will enable the claimant to enjoy as good a quality of life as can be achieved. It is quite plain that she has many most attractive and positive qualities. Both parents have devoted enormous time since the accident to her care and welfare. Their devotion is striking and I commend it and I hope that their daughter will achieve a good measure of independent living in the future.”