Norfolk

Norfolk brain-injury crash woman wins £9m compensation

A Norfolk woman who was hit by a car as a child is to receive more than £9m compensation in one of the largest settlements of its kind.

Leigh Ann Blinkthorn, now 23, was seven when she was struck by a car in Filby in January 1996.

She suffered brain injuries and needs constant care, the High Court heard.

The settlement was reached on Thursday, 11 years after the insurers of driver Stephen Hall, of White Rose Close, Norwich, were found liable.

The court heard the delays were caused by legal negotiations and changes in Ms Blinkthorn's care needs. She will receive a portion of the money every year for the rest of her life.

'Quite aggressive'

She was crossing the A1064 to see a family friend when Mr Hall's car knocked her into the air.

She suffered life-threatening brain injuries and went into a deep coma.

Her counsel, John Foy QC, said a personality change caused by the injuries meant she could be "quite aggressive" and needed two carers to supervise and look after her at all times.

On top of a £2,875,000 lump sum, she will receive index-linked and tax-free payments of £191,758 every year to cover the costs of her care for as long as she lives.

The total package is worth more than £9m.

Explaining the long delay in settling the case, Mr Foy said Ms Blinkthorn's prognosis had changed over the years and she had spent periods in residential care before finally settling at home with a care regime in place.

'Tireless care'

Ms Blinkthorn's parents, Colin and Joy, who now live with their daughter in Caister, near Great Yarmouth, were told by Mr Justice Popplewell: "I am pleased to be able to approve this settlement, which is fair and very much in Leigh's best interests.

"I have been struck by the tireless care and dedication Joy and Colin have given to Leigh over so many years.

"It really is heart-warming and I hope that this settlement will bring a little enhancement to all their lives."

Speaking after the case, Ms Blinkthorn's solicitor David Pett said: "The award, one of the largest ever to be made, will provide our client with the financial security she clearly requires and indeed deserves."

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