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Lawyers representing a courageous 17-year-old girl who plans to attend university and forge an academic career notwithstanding catastrophic injuries she suffered in a road accident have achieved a £14 million settlement of her compensation claim. The figure is one of the highest ever approved by the High Court in such a case.

Isobel Sale was aged nine when she sustained severe spinal damage as a car driven by her mother collided head-on with a van in July 2005. Isobel was a rear-seat passenger in the car and was left paralysed from the neck down, although she has since struggled valiantly to take her A-levels and make the most of her life.

At first she was unable to speak due to her injuries but had learnt to communicate articulately with the aid of specialist equipment. Her father, a general practitioner, had described her as a “pretty special person” and lawyers on all sides praised her “extraordinary courage and fortitude” in coming to terms with her injuries.

During a 30-minute hearing, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies dispensed with her robes and descended into the well of the court to congratulate Isobel on her fortitude and remarkable academic success. The judge approved a settlement of Isobel’s case against her mother’s motor insurers which will take the form of a £3,268,532 lump sum, plus annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of her care for life. The total award was valued at approximately £14 million over her lifetime.

Isobel requires ventilation and has intensive support needs, but has high hopes of attending a leading university. She has a particular flair for languages which has inspired her interest in a possible academic career. The judge said that she felt “humbled” by the case and by the dedication shown by Isobel and her parents.