Court gives £1.7m payout to brain injury teenager

A young footballer left with permanent brain damage by a collision on a school playing field has been given £1.7m compensation at the High Court.

Rees Ashwell-Ross, 13, was seven in December 2004 when he clashed heads at his Lincoln primary school.

He later experienced a headache, but despite a call to the NHS helpline he was only hospitalised the next morning.

He suffered a grand mal seizure and had to undergo emergency surgery at Lincoln County Hospital to save his life.

'Negligent delay'

He was left needing a wheelchair to get around and struggling with communication and mobility difficulties.

His family, of Hainton Road, Lincoln, sued West Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust, claiming a negligent delay in his treatment.

Lawyers argued that with an appropriate response, he would have been examined by a doctor earlier and his devastating injuries could have been avoided.

In May 2009 the PCT agreed to pay damages on the basis of 75% liability.

Judge Jonathan Foster at London's High Court approved a £1.7m settlement package for the teenager.

Christopher Johnston, representing the Ashwell-Ross family, said: "He is an impressive young man doing very well at school. He is somewhat of a maths whiz, is doing very well at German, and I've just been talking to him about his wheelchair basketball, which is also going very well."

Mr Johnston also thanked the PCT for the reasonable attitude they had taken throughout the litigation, which he said had greatly reduced the stress of proceedings on the family.

Miss Sophia Kemp, for the PCT, added: "We also are impressed with how Rees has dealt with matters."

The payout consists of a £1m lump sum, followed by index-linked payments of £19,500-a-year until Rees reaches the age of 45, at which time those payments will increase to £22,500-a-year and will continue for the rest of his life.

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