Compensation includes £7.25m lump sum and annual payments of £270,000


Allianz Insurance is on the hook for a record £23m payout to a teenager who was paralysed in a car crash, the High Court ruled yesterday.

The compensation awarded includes a £7.25m lump sum, plus annual payments of £270,000. The payout is believed to be the highest ever for personal injury.

The award was made as a periodical payment order (PPO), which is an alternative to a lump sum settlement of large claims.

If it had been a traditional lump sum, it would have been about £15.1m. The highest lump sum awarded in the past was about £12m.

Agnes Collier, 17, lost the use of her legs and most of the function in her arms in the accident on the A436 in Gloucestershire and needs 24-hour care.

Her mother, Karen Hood, was killed in the crash, and her older brother suffered a serious head injury.

Allianz was the insurer for Anthony Norton, the driver of the other car, who caused the accident in March 2009 when he pulled out a side road, causing Hood to be hit by an oncoming lorry.

In November 2009, Norton pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention and was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for one year. He was also banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to do 300 hours’ unpaid community work.

Collier’s family’s solicitor Paul Paxton said the award was based on index-linked payments for what was a reduced life expectancy.

He said: “While it is a lot of money, Agnes’ needs are great. The family want to be able to move on with their lives now this chapter has closed.”

Allianz’s lawyer Ben Browne, QC, said it was a tragedy for the entire family. He said: “On top of that, they had to contend with the injuries to Agnes, which were at the very highest level of severity.”

Allianz Insurance’s director of claims Graham Gibson said: “These are tragic circumstances and our sympathies go to Agnes, who has suffered a very serious set of injuries. We often hear insurers talk about the need to put up barriers against fraud and tackle compensation culture, which is especially relevant today, given the proposal from the MoJ for fixed recoverable costs.

“However, let’s not forget that first and foremost, insurers are here to provide help to the people who genuinely need our support. This case demonstrates exactly what insurance is really for - providing financial security and a level of comfort in times of need.”