Brentwood crash victim wins �17.5million compensation

A “BEAUTIFUL smiling” sixth-former whose promising school and sporting career tragically ended in a road accident has been awarded more than �17.5 million compensation at London’s High Court.

The payout, which will be used to cover the enormous costs of Chrissie Johnson’s care for the rest of her life, is believed to be the highest ever award in a personal injury case.

Chrissie was just 16 in November 2006 when a car in which she was a passenger collided with a lorry on the Epping Road, near Chipping Ongar, Essex, leaving her almost completely paralysed from a catastrophic brain injury.

Chrissie, who had achieved 12 GCSEs just months before the crash and was the goalkeeper in a local girls football team, was in intensive care in the Royal London Hospital for 10 days.

Now a brave 20-year-old, she lives in a care home in Great Warley, near Brentwood and can now move one of her arms and communicate.

At the High Court on Thursday, October 7, she settled her compensation claim against insurers for the driver of the car, Serena Compton-Cooke, of Sandringham Road, Pilgrim’s Hatch, Brentwood.

Chrissie, who wanted to become a paramedic, will now receive a lump sum payment of �4 million, plus index-linked and tax-free payments of �300,000-a-year to cover the costs of her care for as long as she lives.

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Her solicitor, Clare Salmon of Stewarts Law, said outside the court that the total settlement, estimated to be worth more than �17.5 million, is believed to be the highest ever personal injury payout.

Some of the money will go towards paying for a new home for Chrissie which is fitted out to cater for her needs. Chrissie, who will always need a wheelchair, will also be fully dependent of nursing care for all activities.

Mrs Justice Swift paid tribute to the youngster and her family. She said: “The fact that this has been a complex case legally must not mask the fact that this is a human tragedy, not only for Chrissie, but for her family, in particular her mother and siblings, who have made very considerable sacrifices in the years since the accident.”

In a statement after the hearing, Chrissie’s mother, Gina Smith, said: “I am grateful that my daughter has financial security for the rest of her life, but I would of course happily give all this up and more to have my beautiful, smiling angel back to the person she was before this tragedy.”