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Monday, December 21, 1998 Published at 19:22 GMT


9.2m for road crash victim

A Dutch student completely paralysed in a road accident has been awarded damages of 9.2m.

The BBC's Chris West: Martijn Biesheuvel had been guaranteed a high-flying city career
Martijn Biesheuvel had hopes of a high-flying career in business destroyed by the crash, the High Court in London was told.

The payout is the largest personal injury award made by an English court.

BBC Correspondent Daniela Relph: This award reflects loss of very high projected earnings
Mr Biesheuvel was 22 and had just finished final exams in business administration at Bath University in May 1994 when a car in which he was travelling with four friends collided with parked vehicles.

Nobody else was seriously hurt in the crash in the city.

Insurers will pay award

The insurers of driver Andrew Birrell will pay the award, which includes loss of future earnings and the cost of care.

It was accepted that Mr Birrell's negligence caused the crash.

Mr Biesheuvel was not wearing a rear seatbelt but in court, Mr Justice Eady said: "I am wholly unpersuaded that I should make a finding of contributory negligence against Mr Biesheuvel."

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