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Stoic Crash Victim Determined to Live Active Life Wins £4 Million Damages

The aim of compensation is to put victims of negligence as nearly as possible in the same position they would have been in had they not been injured. In a good example of that principle being applied, a woman who lost a leg in a road accident was awarded more than £4 million in damages.

The woman was a passenger in a car driven by her fiancé, later her husband, when it crashed on a motorway. Her right foot was badly crushed and her left leg had to be amputated below the knee. Her husband's motor insurers accepted liability for the accident, but disputed the value of her claim.

The determined woman has since managed to return to her successful career as a travel journalist, albeit on a part-time basis. Although medical experts agreed that participation in contact sports might worsen her condition, she viewed their opinions as excessively bleak and wished to resume her active lifestyle. She had, amongst other things, signed up for a triathlon event. She also refused to give up on motherhood. Since the accident, she has given birth and is hoping to have another baby.

In ruling on her claim, a judge described her as a stoical woman who has shown considerable independence of mind. She was awarded more than £900,000 to pay for aids and equipment, including a lifetime's supply of prosthetic limbs suitable for different occasions – for example a running blade that will enable her to compete in sporting events and a limb that will allow her to wear high heels and skirts without embarrassment.

Other heads of damages included almost £670,000 to cover the costs of her future care, over £480,000 in respect of lost earnings, and more than £1.2 million for the additional costs of housing and taking holidays abroad. Her total award came to £4,098,051.

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