Motorcyclist left crippled after crash awarded £3m
Victim requires round-the-clock care
A MAN who suffered terrible injuries in a road accident was awarded £3.15m damages yesterday in a case which a judge said showed “the triumph of human spirit over adversity”.
Neil Alick Nicolson, 42, requires 24-hour nursing and has severe cognitive problems affecting his short-term memory, although he has made progress in recent months.
Despite his injuries Mr Nicolson is “still an interesting and pleasant person to be with, with a wicked sense of humourwhich has survived all his travails”, his counsel, Robert Glancy QC, told Mr Justice Butterfield at the High Court in London yesterday.
Mr Glancy said he enjoyed talking to friends about youthful escapades and was supported by his mother, Betty, and other family who live near his newly converted bungalow in Corpach, Fort William, Inverness-shire.
“I have never known a family devote more affection, attention and effort than they have to restoring Neil Alick to the best possible health,” Mr Glancy said.
Mr Nicolson worked as a scaffolder when he was thrown from his motorbike after it was in a collision with a car in Carshalton, Surrey, in August 2002.
The agreed settlement was against the insurers of driver Brenda Willis, of Mitcham, Surrey, on the basis that she was two-thirds to blame for the accident.
Approving the award, the judge said: “This is yet another case representing the triumph of human spirit over adversity.
“It is quite clear that the family have done everything possible, and more, to help him in these wretched times. I wish them all good fortune in the future.”
In the accident Mr Nicol- son’s bike rammed into a line of parked cars and he was thrown off, suffering appalling injuries.
After hospital treatment in London he was transferred to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and, since then has had a number of hospital and nursing home placements.
He was unable to feed himself, spent most of his time in a wheelchair and, for years after the accident, was only capable of voluntarily moving his neck and left thumb. But 18 months ago Mr Nicolson was moved to the Pinewood Rehabilitation Centre in Deans, near Edinburgh, where his improvement has been dramatic.
He can now, with some assistance, feed himself, guide his wheelchair for a few metres and walk short distances in a harness.
Betty Nicolson said: “I am very happy that my boy is coming home at long last and that the money he is getting will give him a quality of life.
“It will never get back the son I once had. No money could ever do that, but I think our lawyers have been fantastic.
“He has come on handsomely. He is physically much improved since he went to Pinewood and he has got some dignity and independence now.”
Knowing her son would never fully recovery, Mrs Nicolson fought tirelessly to make sure he got the best care and “travelled day after day after day”, regardless of weather conditions, to visit him. His sister, Lizanne, had even given up her job to move closer to him, Mr Glancy said.
Mr Justice Butterfield said the family had done everything to “help him through these wretched times.”