Boy in wheelchair after road accident wins £5m for care

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The Independent Online

A boy aged 10 who was left paralysed after being hit by a car on a shopping trip with his father was awarded £5.1m in compensation yesterday.

The award, approved by the High Court in Birmingham, is the highest ever made for this kind of injury and the third highest in any personal injury claim, and means that Faisal Luhar, who still relies on a ventilator to help him breathe, can now be cared for 24 hours a day by his family.

Faisal was hurt when he ran across Coventry Road, in Small Heath, Birmingham, in front of a car, while he was with his father in November 1993.

He spent two-and-half-years in the regional spinal injuries unit in Southport, Merseyside, having suffered injuries to his spinal cord that left him paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair.

At an earlier hearing, the driver of the car was found to be liable for the accident. He was driving at more than 40mph in a 30mph zone.

Since returning home in July 1996, Faisal has been cared for by his father Yusuf, who is 45, and his 42-year-old mother Maimuna, with help from the Birmingham Health Authority.

The lawyer for the family, Stuart Henderson, a partner at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said pioneering surgery had given Faisal his only chance of life. "If he had suffered these injuries 20 years ago he would have died," he said.

Mr Luhar, an immigration counsellor from Moseley, Birmingham, said: "Faisal was a boisterous little fellow, always running around, always getting into scraps. Now he's wheelchair-bound, but thank God he's still a happy child. Occasionally he gets depressed when he sees children running around."

During the hearing, Judge David Matthews said he had "no hesitation" in approving the settlement and praisedthose who had helped Faisal.

"I paid tribute to Faisal himself, his courage and good humour in the most difficult of circumstances. He is an example to everybody and no one here can fail to admire his bravery, cheerfulness and approach to life and long may it continue," he added.