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Money can never fully compensate someone who is gravely injured in a road traffic accident – but it can pay for the care they need and assist them to lead as fulfilling a life as possible.
In one such case, a young journalist, who had a promising career in front of her when she was crushed beneath the wheels of a lorry, was awarded a multi-million-pound settlement of her claim.
The woman, aged in her 30s, worked for the Times and was cycling to work when disaster struck. The lorry hit her as she waited at traffic lights in a marked box which was set aside for cyclists. The driver of the lorry did not apply the handbrake before climbing out of his cab to investigate and the vehicle rolled over her.
She suffered catastrophic orthopaedic and head injuries and was in a coma for some time. Although she did eventually regain consciousness, she is unable to speak or walk. Her family remain convinced that she is aware of the world around her, but doctors have been unable to establish any consistent responses to stimuli.
Lawyers acting on the woman's behalf sued the driver's insurers, who agreed a settlement of the case following extensive negotiations. Although the exact sums involved have been kept confidential, she will receive a seven-figure lump sum, as well as index-linked and tax-free annual payments, to cover the costs of her care for life.
The driver of the lorry was convicted of careless driving, banned from driving for eight months and fined £2,700.