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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Injured cyclist awarded 5m
Richard Harrison
Mr Harrison had a 'bright future' before the accident
A cyclist who suffered serious head injuries when he was knocked off his bike four years ago has been awarded damages up to 5m.

Richard Harrison, 35, was hit by a car near his home in Hexham, Northumberland, on 3 May 1999.

The accident left him with severe brain damage, paralysis in his legs and arms and unable to speak coherently.

But thanks to constant care from his family and friends, Mr Harrison can now swim, eat and drink unaided and has started to rebuild his social life.

He was given up to 5 million compensation in an out-of-court settlement on Thursday.

Richard was simply out of it for a long time and this was terrible to see, but we always knew that with help he would get back
John Harrison, father

It followed an interim compensation payment of 450,000 in 2002 by the driver's insurers.

The latest will see a one-off payment of 1.3m and then annual payments of 180,000 for the rest of his life.

The compensation is calculated to meet the cost of Mr Harrison's ongoing medical and therapeutic care and could reach up to 5m or more.

Mr Harrison's father, John, said: "Pursuing this award, which means so much to Richard, has been a long, exhausting process.

"Richard was simply out of it for a long time and this was terrible to see, but we always knew that with help he would get back.

Accident scene
The accident happened near Mr Harrison's home

"We would like to thank all of the people who have helped Richard and us over the last four and a half years."

"He has shown immense courage and we now need to move on."

John Davis, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mr Harrison said: "This compensation award brings great relief to Richard's family.

"Richard can now receive the very high level of care that he needs. His new house can be fully equipped and the funds are there to pay for the nursing staff needed to assist him with many of his daily tasks."

Before the accident, Mr Harrison worked for the Analytical Environmental Services, testing for toxic gases in air for the Environment Agency.



The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Insurers agreed to pay for the care he needs"

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