A schoolgirl who suffered catastrophic head injuries when she was clipped by a motorist who was rushing to work is in line for very substantial compensation after a High Court ruling.
Bethany Louise Probert, 16, was walking beside Abthorpe Road, near Silverstone, Northants, on the evening of December 3 2009 when she was struck by a Saab car driven by Paul Moore, a fitter for the Force India motor racing team.
Bethany, who was 13 at the time, suffered a broken collarbone, lung damage, serious head injuries and brain damage.
Judge David Pittaway QC said: ‘She suffers from both physical disabilities and cognitive impairment as a result of the accident. Her head injury is likely to have a significant effect on her personality, employability and ability to live independently in the future’.
With her mother, Joanna Probert, acting as her litigation friend, Bethany sued Mr Moore and has now been guaranteed enough compensation to pay for the lifetime of care and support she will need.
Finding that Mr Moore's negligence caused the accident, the judge said that he was driving faster than a ‘reasonably prudent driver’ would have done in the circumstances and should have been aware that pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders are a common sight on country roads.
The fact that Mr Moore was late for his shift probably contributed to the accident and claims that Bethany was herself careless in wearing headphones and failing to wear a high visibility jacket were rejected by the judge, who found Mr Moore 100% liable for the accident.
The judge said the force of the impact threw Bethany into a hedgerow and, after he stopped, it took some time for Mr Moore, who had been driving the same route twice-a-day for 15 years, to find the stricken teenager.
Unless final settlement terms are agreed in the meantime, the quantum of Bethany's damages will be assessed at another court hearing. Given the severity of her injuries, the award is likely to run into several million pounds.