Multi million payout for road accident boy

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The Independent Online

A 10-year-old boy who was left paralysed and able to breathe only with the aid of a ventilator after a road accident was today awarded £5.1 million in what is believed to be one of the highest damages settlements for a personal injury claim.

The award, made at the High Court sitting in Birmingham, will help provide 24-hour care for young Faisal Luhar and buy him medical and educational equipment.

Faisal was injured when he ran across Coventry Road, in Small Heath, Birmingham, and into the path of a car while on a shopping trip with his father in November 1993.

He spent two-and-half-years in the regional spinal injuries unit in Southport, Merseyside.

He suffered injuries to his spinal cord which left him tetraplegic - paralysed from the neck down - confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator to breathe.

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

Since returning home in July 1996, Faisal has been cared for by his father Yusuf, 45, and 42-year-old mother Maimuna, with help from Birmingham Health Authority. He now attends the Wilson Stuart special school in Perry Barr, Birmingham.

Mr Luhar, an immigration counsellor, from Moseley, Birmingham, said: "We're just relieved that it's all over and we can get on with our lives."

Mr Luhar went on: "We've no joy or elation at the award. The whole point of this litigation was to offer Faisal the security that he will be looked after and us the piece of mind that he wouldn't have to enter into an institution in later life."

The award means the couple, who have three other children - Amreen, 14, Leyla, six, and 15-month-old Faheem - will take over Faisal's care.

Mr Luhar continued: "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."

The family's solicitor, Stuart Henderson, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "This is one of the highest awards in the UK for personal injury. That reflects the nature of his injuries and his most severe disabilities.

"His care regime alone is going to cost £175,000 a year.

"The family has had such a tough time. It's every family's worst nightmare. But it shows what a strong and supportive family they are."