Pedro was a rear seat passenger in a car that was being driven by his friend at an excessive speed in a chase involving other vehicles. Although there were rear seat belts fitted, Pedro was not wearing his. The car failed to negotiate a roundabout, struck the central island and turned over. Pedro suffered an extremely severe head injury and was initially in a coma for some months.
Pedro, a young man with his own newly established business, required a huge amount of expert clinical and therapeutic help to get his life back together. When he came out of hospital, he was heavily dependent upon his devoted family. We were instructed on Pedro’s behalf by his parents. Unfortunately, his failure to wear a belt caused him injuries he would probably have avoided and worsened the injuries he would not have avoided.
When we could not get the driver’s insurers to agree, we went to court to get Pedro an interim payment to enable a trial of independent living in his own place with appropriate paid support and continued rehabilitation. The insurers would not concede this and they continued to under value Pedro’s claim, so his case was set down for trial.
Two months before trial a “round table meeting” was scheduled with the barristers for both sides present. A settlement of over £1 million was thrashed out for Pedro’s past losses and for his future care, which the court approved on his behalf. The insurers paid his legal costs in addition.
Although compensation can never return the victim of a serious accident to their former self (particularly when they have had to take a discount for contributory fault as in this case), Pedro’s settlement has been sufficient to enable him to buy his own property without a mortgage and to secure his future needs. Pedro also remains entitled to certain state benefits as his compensation is under the control of the Court and is not taken into account for means testing.