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Settlement Following Severe Brain Injury To Hit And Run Victim of Catholic Priest In Rome

Lawyers Secure Funds For Life For Future Care Package Needed by North East Man Left Severely Injured


By Dave Grimshaw

The High Court in London today approved the terms of settlement reached between lawyers acting for James Kennedy and the insurers of a Peugeot car driven by Father John Richard Cole, a Catholic Priest from Merthyr Tydfil following a collision that occurred in Rome during the early hours of 14 January 2006.

James, formerly a keen amateur rugby and cricket player, was on holiday in Rome with university friends when he was hit by Father Cole's Peugeot whilst crossing the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele road. Father Cole drove away from the scene of the accident and was later charged and convicted of drink-driving.

This morning (14th May 2013) Mr Justice Bean sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London approved the terms of settlement agreed between James’ Lawyers Irwin Mitchell and Cole’s insurers including a substantial lump sum payment plus annual payments of £210,000 for James’ life.

James suffered injuries of the utmost severity in the collision including severe brain damage and fractures to his skull, spine, knee, collar bone and shoulder. James has been left with severe and permanent physical disabilities. He has major difficulties with his memory and concentration. He is also wheelchair dependant and will require 24 hour care and assistance for the rest of his life.

The 37-year-old now lives in Newcastle in a specially adapted house which has been purchased and adapted with interim payments of damages secured by Irwin Mitchell during the legal case. He lives with his team of full time carers and also has the benefit of a specialist case manager to oversee his care regime, ongoing therapies and other needs.

Clive Garner, head of Irwin Mitchell’s international travel law team, representing James said today: “James’ life was left shattered by what happened in Rome – a fit and healthy young man was robbed of his mobility and independence in a tragic accident. He will never be able to work again and is currently, totally dependent on carers to carry out most of the essential tasks of daily living.

“In spite of his many challenges, James remains a great character with tremendous spirit and determination. He is an inspiration to all who know him. He rightly wants to make the most of his life and he will require every penny of this settlement to ensure he has the care, the support, the equipment and the therapies he will need for the rest of his life.

“Having been deprived of so much, James now has the financial security that he rightly deserves and the resources to maximise his quality of life. Because of his disabilities, the Court Of Protection will oversee the investment and use of his damages and ensure that every Pound is used to maximum effect for James’ benefit.

“James has also been fortunate to have wonderful support from his family and his friends. His Mother, Elaine Lee, has fought relentlessly for James’ rights over the past 7 years and her commitment, dedication and fighting spirit have been incredible.”

James’ mother, Elaine Lee, from Corbridge, Newcastle said today: “My son was very seriously injured and nothing will ever turn back the clock and give James back his freedom and full independence.

“We will continue to stand by James all the way but he also needs significant and specialist support to help him. We will now be able to look forward knowing that the cost of his future accommodation, care and other needs are secure for him.

“We are very relieved that the settlement for James has finally been negotiated and approved by the court. But this is clearly not a lottery win. James needs these funds to help pay for the care, rehabilitation, therapies and other expenses he needs to incur for the rest of his life and every penny of James’ award has been carefully accounted for.”

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