Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car is driving a potentially lethal weapon and it is only right that damages are payable when negligent motorists wreck lives. In one case, a formerly active pensioner who suffered severe head injuries in a head-on collision won a compensation package worth almost £3.4 million.
The man, in his sixties, was with his wife in the family car when another motorist allowed his vehicle to drift onto the wrong side of the road. The pensioner had been enjoying his retirement, travelling the world with his wife. However, the accident caused brain damage and a fundamental change in his personality that has reduced him to the equivalent of an anxious and wholly dependent child.
His lawyers succeeded in negotiating a settlement with the other driver's insurers, who admitted full liability for the accident. The package comprises a £1,275,000 lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Those payments will start at £85,000, before rising to £100,000 in 2019 and then to £125,000 in 2022. In approving the settlement, the High Court paid tribute to the man's wife and agreed that she should receive £80,000 of the damages as some compensation for her past expense in caring for her husband.