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Compensation for a Pedestrian Injury on Holiday Approved in Court

A man who was left in a coma after being hit by a car in Rome has had a settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday approved in court.

James Kennedy (37) from Gosforth in Newcastle was holidaying in Rome with university friends when, on 14 January 2006, he was hit by a car driven by Father John Cole of Merthyr Tydfil while crossing the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele.

James was taken to the city´s Santo Spirito Hospital, where he lay in a coma for ten months suffering from catastrophic brain damage and fractures to his skull, shoulder, knee and spine. Although now ‘mentally acute’, James is confined to a wheelchair because of his physical injuries and suffers from a lack of concentration and poor memory.

Because of his psychological impairment, James made a compensation claim for a pedestrian injury on holiday through his mother – Elaine – against Father Cole´s car insurers. However, the insurance company contested the claim on the grounds that James had been wearing dark clothing when the accident occurred and had ‘kept no proper lookout’ before stepping out into the street.

A negotiated resolution was reached in October 2009, in which Father Cole´s insurance company accepted 80% liability for James´ injuries and the claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages. An interim payment of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday amounting to £885,000 was paid to James earlier this year to enable him to move out of residential care and into a more suitable home.

The full settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday is expected to be in excess of £10 million – as James is to receive a further lump sum payment of £3 million on approval of the settlement and index-linked, tax-free payments of £210,000 every year to pay for the cost of the care and support he will need for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Bean at the High Court in London approved the settlement and commented that James risked having a bigger percentage deducted from the award for his contributory negligence had the claim been resolved by a trial. The judge announced that the funds would be managed by the Court of Protection to ensure that every pound was used to maximum effect for James´ benefit.