Over­whelm­ing sup­port for Lay­ton’s life­time care


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Kristine Tar­bert

AN ONLINE pe­ti­tion seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion for 12year-old Lay­ton Smith, of Clare­mont Mead­ows, has gained more than 32,000 sup­port­ers.

In Septem­ber 2004, a van crossed to the wrong side of the Great Western High­way in Mt Druitt, hit­ting the Smiths’ car, in­jur­ing both par­ents and baby Lay­ton, then al­most two. He suf­fered ir­repara­ble dam­age to his brain and body.

Since the crash, NRMA In­sur­ance has cov­ered med­i­cal bills, in­clud­ing com­pen­sa­tion to Lay­ton’s mother Tracey. How­ever, the crash was later pro­nounced “blame­less” be­cause the driver suf­fered a heart at­tack, and com­pul­sory third party in­sur­ance pro­tec­tions didn’t ap­ply.

Lay­ton’s fa­ther Troy Smith said the public’s sup­port had been fan­tas­tic.

“They are un­der­stand­ing our sit­u­a­tion, be­cause this could hap­pen to any­one, at any time and we’re hop­ing for a pos­i­tive out­come,” he said.

“For the first five years (af­ter the ac­ci­dent) we ded­i­cated our time to Lay­ton and his speech and oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy, physio, ev­ery­thing to try and get his left-hand side work­ing. In the back­ground NRMA looked at cov­er­ing the bills.

“But since the case went to court and NRMA were found not li­able, we are ask­ing: what hap­pens here?”

At the time of the crash, the NSW Com­pul­sory Third Party Scheme only ap­plied if the driver was at fault. Had it hap­pened to­day, Lay­ton would have life­time care.

Fam­ily friend Emma Darcy launched the pe­ti­tion on change.org to try an se­cure this care for Lay­ton.

A fundraiser will also be held on Septem­ber 25 at the Ma­jor Oak Theatre Res­tau­rant in St Marys to raise money for Lay­ton’s treat­ments and trust fund.

“I couldn’t sit back and do noth­ing,” Ms Darcy said.

A spokesman for NRMA In­sur­ance said the in­surer would con­tinue to work with Ser­vices Min­is­ter Do­minic Per­rot­tet, the Life­time Care and Sup­port Au­thor­ity and the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme on Lay­ton’s fu­ture treat­ment needs.

“We’re cer­tainly not go­ing to leave Lay­ton and his fam- ily in a sit­u­a­tion where there is no treat­ment and sup­port, which is why we have sup­ported the as­sess­ment for el­i­gi­bil­ity into the NDIS,” he said.

“Our sup­port con­tin­ued for the last 10 years and it has been sig­nif­i­cant – above and be­yond what the scheme war­ranted at the time. We will con­tinue to pro­vide sup­port for Lay­ton’s ther­apy and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion un­til Septem­ber 1, by which time we an­tic­i­pate he will have been as­sessed for en­try into the scheme.”

Mr Smith be­lieved CTP leg­is­la­tion needed to be changed to cover the ve­hi­cle rather than the driver.

Pic­ture: TIM HUNTER

Lay­ton Smith, who suf­fered brain and body dam­age af­ter a car crash in Mt Druitt 11 years ago (inset), cud­dles up to dad Troy.

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