19 June 2007
£2m compensation for man left paralysed by car crash
A Yorkshire man has won £2 million in compensation after a road accident left him paralysed from the waist-down - despite his not wearing a seatbelt at the time.
Michael Gawler, 28, sustained the injuries in 2004 when the driver of the car in which he was a passenger lost control of his vehicle and the car left the road.
As a result he suffered a serious injury to his spine that has required him to use a wheelchair ever since.
At an initial hearing, damages had been set at £2.7 million, leading his insurers to mount an appeal that the payment should be halved since Mr Gawler was not wearing a seatbelt.
However, the appeal was rejected by the House of Lords, which voted instead for a 25 per cent cut in the amount of compensation.
Had the Lords ruled otherwise, the decision would have represented a change to existing compensation laws and may have consequently jeopardised a number of similar claims in which those bringing the action had not been wearing seatbelts.