Lawyers representing a young man whose life was wrecked when he was knocked off his bicycle and dreadfully injured by a hit-and-run driver have achieved a settlement of his claim valued at more than £9 million to cover the enormous costs of the care he will need for the rest of his life.
Lee Geohagen was aged just 14 when disaster struck as he and his brother were cycling towards a north London park in June 2004. The pair had been travelling on the pavement and, as Lee went down a dropped kerb and began to ride across the road, he was struck by a car, suffering head injuries and traumatic brain damage which will blight the rest of his life.
Lee was so badly injured that he was considered incapable of managing his own affairs and was classified as a ‘protected party’. His lawyers say that he will never be able to work and will need lifelong care. The driver fled the scene on foot and later pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance.
The driver had never made any response to Lee's damages claim, so his lawyers instead had to seek damages from the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), the industry body that compensates victims of uninsured drivers.
After more than five years of litigation, the MIB agreed to a settlement of Lee’s case on the basis of 70% liability. He will receive a lump sum of £2.6 million, as well as index-linked and tax-free payments of £120,000 a year to cover the costs of his care for life. His lawyers confirmed that the total settlement - which was approved by Mrs Justice Andrews - was valued at a little over £9 million.
The MIB will now attempt to track the driver down and recover as much money as it can from him if he turns out to have assets. Giving the green light to the settlement, Mrs Justice Andrews praised Lee's mother for the unstinting care that she has given him since the accident.