Norfolk student who suffered permanent brain damage in A47 crash could receive millions of pounds in compensation
- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant
A promising young Norfolk student who suffered permanent brain damage in an A47 crash could be set to receive millions of pounds in compensation.
A judge at the High Court in London yesterday ruled that risk management expert Peter Haynes was entirely to blame for the tragedy.
Mr Haynes, an oil and energy consultant, said he was in a 'state of automatism' - akin to sleep walking, when his Toyota Land Cruiser smashed at high speed into the teenager's VW Polo.
Mr Haynes was knocked out by a sudden bout of 'gripping' abdominal pain and his legal team insisted he could not be held responsible for 19-year-old Simon Green's devastating injuries.
However, Mr Green, now 22, from Swaffham is in line for massive compensation.
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Finding Mr Haynes an 'unsatisfactory' witness, Mr Justice Supperstone said he had been speeding and was unfit to drive at the time.
One witness had described the businessman 'steaming past' other motorists before disaster struck on a sliproad of the A47, near Cringleford, Norfolk, on March 1, 2012.
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Mr Green, then a 'high-achieving' Norwich School A-level student, suffered permanent brain damage after being trapped in the pile-up.
Mr Haynes, whose Linkedin profile says he is an 'honorary lecturer in risk management' at the University of East Anglia, said his vision 'rapidly dimmed and went out of focus' before he blacked out altogether. The next thing he knew, he was being tended by paramedics.
On the day of the accident Mr Haynes left a conference in Norwich early as he felt unwell.
Mr Green's lawyers did not dispute that the businessman, in his 60s, of the Old Vicarage, Metfield, near Harleston, had 'passed out' seconds before the collision.
The judge ruled: 'Mr Haynes should not have driven on leaving the conference centre after he felt so unwell.'
He added that the businessman had been 'driving at high speed in the outside lane' of the sliproad - in all likelihoood at close to 70mph - before he blacked out.
The judge concluded: 'Had he been driving slowly and in the inside lane, and ready to pull over should he need to, the accident would have been avoided'.
Susan Rodway QC, for Mr Green, said: 'It is remarkable Mr Green survived.
She added the accident, 'has caused a devastating impact on his young life.'
Mr Haynes said he had been looking for somewhere to pull over when he suddenly felt 'as if his head were deflating' and lost consciousness.
The amount of Mr Green's damages has yet to be finalised; however, given the severity of his injuries, his payout is likely to run into the millions.