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Serious Road Accidents Can Affect Families for Generations to Come

Road accidents happen in an instant but can have lifelong consequences not just for those immediately involved but for their families and, in some cases, even future generations. That was sadly so in the case of a young woman who was a passenger in her boyfriend's car when he crashed into a tree.

The woman sustained a serious brain injury in the collision. She has in many ways made a better recovery than expected, but she suffers from such acute fatigue that she often has difficulty getting up in the morning. Her ability to organise her daily life is seriously impaired and she is heavily reliant on the care and support of members of her family.

Since the accident, she has given birth to children by her new partner, one of whom is seriously disabled. Whilst the driver's insurers admitted primary liability for the accident, there was a dispute as to the extent to which her care responsibilities for the child should be reflected in her award. The difficulty in separating her own needs from those of her child further complicated her claim in respect of accommodation costs. There was also a debate as to whether she was herself negligent in failing to wear a seatbelt.

Following negotiations, however, a £6 million lump-sum settlement of her personal injury claim was secured. It was also agreed that she could return to court for further damages if she develops uncontrolled epilepsy prior to the 20th anniversary of the accident.

Approving the award, the High Court paid glowing tribute to the strong and loyal support given to her by her family, particularly her mother and grandmother. No one could have done more to help her cope with the consequences of the accident.