Assessing the value of personal injury claims can be a long and challenging process but, where victims simply cannot wait for compensation, the law can move with surprising speed. In one case, a teenager received multi-million-pound damages not much more than two years after he suffered catastrophic injuries in a road accident.
The boy was enjoying an evening out with a friend on their non-motorised scooters when tragedy struck. They were making their way across a road at a traffic-light-controlled crossing when a car hit him. The lights were against the boy when he crossed and the motorist involved was not prosecuted.
The motorist's insurers denied liability for the accident but, following negotiations, they swiftly agreed to a settlement of his compensation claim. They had already paid £230,000 to meet the boy's immediate housing and therapy needs and agreed to pay another £1.65 million within 21 days. The boy would receive a further tranche of £6.7 million in 12 months' time.
Approving the settlement, the High Court noted that the boy sustained a catastrophic brain injury in the accident and has to be fed largely by tube. He also suffers severe learning and behavioural difficulties and is never expected to live independently.
His pressing needs and those of his family mandated a speedy resolution of the case and achieving a settlement in such short order had required judgment calls to be made by lawyers on both sides. They had brought compassion and rigour to the task and the boy's legal team had shown meticulous attention to detail in placing a value on the claim. The Court was satisfied that the settlement would meet the boy's lifetime needs and was in his best interests.