Dec. 18, 2012
-- A teenage girl who was left paralysed in a car accident in March 2009 has a received a record compensation award for the injuries sustained during the accident. Agnes Collier, who was 13 at the time of the car crash, is to receive £23 million in damages after the Gloucestershire accident, which left her with terrible spinal injuries that the judge in the case described as ‘at the very highest level of severity.’ As a result of the accident, Ms Collier was left with no function in her legs at all and has only limited use of her arms. Her mother, Karen Hood, was killed in the accident and her brother Rufus sustained a serious head injury, although later recovered well.
The accident in which Agnes was injured took place on the A436 in 2009 when motorist Anthony Norton pulled out of a side road, which resulted in the car in which Agnes and her mother and brother were travelling swerving to avoid Mr Norton and being hit by a lorry. Norton pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention and he received a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended for a year. He was also banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to do 300 hours community service. However, after the hearing Norton – who worked for BMW at the time – resigned from his job as he felt that, in spite of the driving ban being only 18 months, he could not face driving again after the accident. Road traffic accidents in the UK present a serious problem - in 2011 the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reported some 1,901 people had been killed on Britain’s roads and more than 23,000 seriously injured. More than 300 deaths a year are the result of someone being ‘careless, reckless or in a hurry.’
The compensation that Agnes is to receive is broken down into a £7.25m lump sum and annual payments of £270,000. It is worth a total of £23 million over her lifetime and is thought to be the largest personal injury award to date, making it a record amount of compensation. The previous record amount was nearly half that at £12.2 million.
Whilst Agnes is severely incapacitated, she has returned to school and sat AS Levels, despite her terrible injuries. She requires someone to write for her because she cannot type or hold a pen properly, and this has been a significant impediment - her counsel William Norris QC said that Agnes felt she could have done a lot better in her exams had the accident not happened. However, despite this she has remained determined to follow her dream to forge a career and go to university. Norris described her as "truly remarkable young lady" and the commitment that Agnes has shown in getting back to her studies despite her incredible injuries, quite astonishing. Norris also said, "Her determination is extraordinary, but she has been blessed with a family who are thoroughly supportive, and her stepmother has been a tower of strength.'' http://www.stephensons.co.uk/site/services/individuals/sr...