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The BBC's Richard Bilton reports
"It now means he can get on with the rest of his life"
 real 28k

Personal injury solicitor Nick Timmings
"It's a massive award but most of the money will go towards the cost of caring for him"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 17:14 GMT
Record award for paralysed boy
Faisal Luhar
Faisal Luhar spent two-and-a-half years in hospital
A 10-year-old boy left paralysed and able to breathe only with the aid of a ventilator in a road accident has been awarded 5.1m by a High Court judge.

It is one of the highest awards handed out in a personal injury claim case.

The award, made at the High Court sitting in Birmingham, will help provide 24-hour care for Faisal Luhar and buy him medical and educational equipment.

Faisal was injured when he ran across a road, in Small Heath, Birmingham, and into the path of a car while on a shopping trip with his father in November 1993.

He suffered injuries to his spinal cord which left him tetraplegic - paralysed from the neck down - confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator to breathe.

Speeding driver

Faisal spent two-and-half-years in a spinal injuries unit in Southport, Merseyside.

At an earlier hearing, the driver of the car was found to be liable for the accident because he was driving at more than 40mph in a 30mph zone.

The driver's insurance company is liable for the 5.1m.

Since returning home in July 1996, Faisal has been cared for by his father Yusuf, 45, and mother Maimuna, 42.

He now attends the Wilson Stuart special school in Perry Barr, Birmingham.

We've no joy or elation at the award

Yusuf Luhar
Mr Luhar, an immigration counsellor, from Moseley, Birmingham, said: "We're just relieved that it's all over and we can get on with our lives."

Mr Luhar went on: "The whole point of this litigation was to offer Faisal the security that he will be looked after and us the piece of mind that he wouldn't have to enter into an institution in later life."

'Boisterous little fellow'

The couple, who have three other children - Amreen, 14, Leyla, six, and 15-month-old Faheem - will take over the cost of Faisal's care from Birmingham Health Authority.

Mr Luhar said: "Faisal was a boisterous little fellow, always running around, always getting into scraps.

"Now he's wheelchair-bound, but thank God he's still a happy child. Occasionally he gets depressed when he sees children running around."

The family's solicitor, Stuart Henderson, said: "This is one of the highest awards in the UK for personal injury. That reflects the nature of his injuries and his most severe disabilities.

"His care regime alone is going to cost 175,000 a year.

"The family has had such a tough time. It's every family's worst nightmare."

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20 Mar 00 | Health
Electronic hope for paraplegics
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