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Cerys Edwards receives lifelong payout

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Five years after being paralysed and brain damaged in a car crash, 6 year-old Cerys Edwards has received a multi-million pound payout. The settlement, agreed just days before trial was due to commence, includes a £5 million lump sum and £450,000 annually for the rest of her life. It is one of the largest of its kind in English legal history.

At just 11 months old, Cerys Edwards suffered “catastrophic injuries” when her parent’s car was hit head-on by a speeding Range Rover. Antonio Singh Boparan, the 19 year-old son of a millionaire from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, was driving at 70mph on the wrong side of the road in a 30mph zone. He was convicted of dangerous driving and jailed for 21 months but served just 6 months of his sentence. Had Cerys died he would have faced up to 14 years in prison.

The leniency of Boparan’s sentencing led to a petition being signed by 30,000 people in 2009 for a change in the law. In future, anyone convicted of a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving will face up to 5 years in jail rather than the previous maximum of 2 years.

The impact of the crash caused Cerys brain and spine injuries resulting in lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation, and leaving her in need of permanent care. She has been moved into special accommodation and requires a ventilator, feeding equipment and round-the-clock nursing.

Speaking outside Birmingham High Court, Richard Langton, the family’s solicitor said:

“Every penny of this award is needed for Cerys’ care in the future.

She has a 24-hour package of carers and nurses looking after her because she’s paralysed and brain damaged, she can’t move and is ventilator dependant so it’s not a lottery winning, it’s money that’s needed for her care.

Today the judge made the very telling point that no amount of money can actually turn back the clock or make a difference to Cerys’ injuries but at least it gives the parents security for the future. They know whatever happens there’ll be enough funds to pay for Cerys’ care.”

According to Paul Bleasdale QC, who represented Cerys in court, the payout is one of the largest for a personal injury claim in England. Although Antonio Singh Boparan’s insurance company, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, did not contest liability - interim payouts were made during the course of the case; the complexity of the medical needs and the care regime envisaged meant it took considerable time for the final settlement sum to be agreed.

If you would like further information about this case or wish to discuss a potential or current injury claim, we have experienced lawyers on hand who can advise you. Please contact Sarah Vincent by email or by telephone 020 7611 4848.