Crash victim sues dead driver's estate for £1m

A MAN who suffered a brain injury when the car he was a passenger in lost control and crashed is suing the dead driver's estate for damages of up to £1million.

Danielle Nuttall

A MAN who suffered a brain injury when the car he was a passenger in lost control and crashed on a notorious stretch of the A14 is suing the dead driver's estate for damages of up to £1million.

Solicitors acting for Phillip Barker have served a writ at the High Court in London against the estate of Jason Barnes, claiming damages for personal injuries suffered in an accident on May 13, 2005.

The crash happened at midnight at the Haughley bends, near Stowmarket, when the Nissan Navar car, driven by Mr Barnes, left the road and collided with trees.

Immediately before the crash the vehicle had passed through a speed camera at 97mph - when a 50mph speed limit was in place.

Blood and urine tests also showed Mr Barnes, who died in the accident, was driving while over the legal alcohol limit, with a reading of 142 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

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Mr Barker, 25, who was living in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, at the time of the accident, was a front-seat passenger in the vehicle.

He suffered numerous injuries, including a ruptured spleen, a brain injury and nerve damage to his arm, and spent several days in intensive care.

Mr Barker's solicitors said he had undergone surgery for his injuries and had suffered memory difficulties as a result of the crash. He now has “high dependency needs”, they said.

The writ says the accident was caused by the “negligence” of Mr Barnes, 35, a site manager whose permanent home was in Southminster, Essex, for driving at excess speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to brake to negotiate the bends and allowing the vehicle to leave the road to collide with trees.

“The claimant was entirely dependent on help from family upon release from hospital. The claimant required help getting up, dressing and needed constant supervision. The claimant was unable to prepare food or manage money,” it says.

It adds: “The claimant continues to suffer with memory difficulties, being impatient and losing his temper. The claimant has difficulty concentrating and is forgetful.”

Mr Barker is claiming damages of more than £50,000 up to £1million for his injuries.