Full-time care needed for car crash victim: Britons injured in accidents abroad have found too late that their insurance was inadequate. Will Bennett reports: Paul Turley will need full-time care for the rest of his life, but cannot claim damages

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The Independent Online
PAUL TURLEY cannot walk or feed himself and when he talks it is a meaningless jumble of words. When his wife, Gill, tries to hold his hand he pulls it away.

He will need full-time care for the rest of his life. If the accident that left him brain damaged had happened in Britain, the damages would have been millions of pounds.

Mr Turley, 46, from Ash, near Yeovil, Somerset, was manager for Westland Helicopters in Saudi Arabia when a vehicle crashed into the company car he was driving in Riyadh in 1990. His wife and two friends were also in the car.

A Saudi police report said that the driver, Abdul al-Sayir, a Kuwaiti, was 'fully responsible'.

Mr Turley was in a coma for three months and suffered a fractured skull, lung damage and had to have his spleen removed. He is now in a specialist unit in a hospital in Taunton, Somerset.

Mrs Turley, 35, who was also badly injured, said: 'He did get better for a while but now he has deteriorated again.'

No damages can be recovered from the Kuwaiti driver, who was not insured, and there is no civil courts system in Saudi Arabia. Religious courts will only award up to pounds 7,500 'blood money'.

Westland has paid pounds 104,000 due under a company executive insurance scheme, two ex-gratia sums totalling pounds 30,000 and Mrs Turley will get 75 per cent of her husband's basic salary until retirement age.

She said: 'I don't want to appear ungrateful to Westland for what they have done but they have not done enough and we were not provided well enough with insurance in the first place.'

Douglas Stewart, her solicitor, said: 'If the accident had occurred in this country we could have got about pounds 1.5m in damages, which in a structured agreement could have been worth pounds 3m to pounds 4m.'

Chris Loney, a spokesman for Westland, said: 'Employees are not specifically told to take out a personal accident policy. They are told exactly what they are covered for and asked to sign a form saying that they understand that.'

(Photograph omitted)