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Crash Victim Secures Seven-Figure Settlement

Road traffic accident victims can encounter very real difficulties in proving the extent of their long-term disabilities. As one case showed, however, personal injury lawyers are adept at cutting through such contentious issues and achieving very substantial settlements for their injured clients.

The case concerned a teenage college student who was a passenger in a friend's car when the friend turned right at a junction, straight into the path of a heavy lorry. She had to be cut from the wreckage and spent five days in an induced coma. After proceedings were launched on her behalf, the friend's motor insurers admitted liability for the accident and accepted that the student had suffered a brain injury.

It was her case that the accident triggered a change in her personality and a range of disabling symptoms typical of frontal lobe damage, including cognitive impairment and difficulty planning ahead and regulating her behaviour. The insurers, however, asserted that she had made a very good recovery from her injuries and that her continuing symptoms arising from the accident were mild at worst.

They denied that she had suffered any loss of earning capacity or that she had any ongoing need for professional care and assistance. In support of their case, they presented surveillance footage, which had been covertly shot over a five-year period, of her going about her daily life. It was argued on the woman's behalf that the footage was entirely consistent with her claimed level of disability.

Such fundamental disputes would ordinarily give rise to a contentious trial that would be highly stressful for all concerned. However, following negotiations, the woman achieved a settlement of her claim for a lump sum of £1,350,000. The High Court had no hesitation in approving the settlement and commended both sides for reaching a consensual resolution.