No amount of money can make up for the death of a parent in a road accident, but it can at least help to soften the blow for their loved ones. The High Court made that point in the case of a Cambridge University graduate who was out jogging when she was struck and killed by a skidding car.
The woman, a 41-year-old accountant, was exercising near her home when a driver lost control and struck her, throwing her 35 yards into a field. The accident occurred two days after Christmas and there was ice on the road. Left to grieve were her husband and two children, who were aged eight and six when she died.
The family launched proceedings against the driver, her motor insurer, the local authority for the area and the local authority's gritting contractors. The council admitted that the part of the road where the accident occurred had not been properly gritted, but there was substantial disagreement as to how liability for what happened should be apportioned between the defendants.
Following negotiations, however, the family's claim was settled for £930,000. Of that lump sum, £50,000 was set aside for each of the children, to be invested until they are 18. The children have been the focus of the widower's life since the accident and, in approving the settlement, the High Court was confident that he will spend almost all of the money for their benefit.
The sums invested for the children would alleviate the future burden of student debt and provide a springboard for them into their adult lives. The widower had described the family's almost idyllic domestic arrangements prior to the accident and the judge hoped that the settlement would enable him and the children to make the most of their lives, in tribute to the woman's memory.