Tractor crash victim awarded £4 million

A young Welshman who was left severely disabled when his motorbike collided with a tractor has been awarded almost £4 million in compensation .

Mark Owen, now aged 26, broke his spine and suffered severe head injuries when his motorbike crashed with a tractor and trailer in September 1996. He had been travelling on his bike on the Cribyn to Temple Bar road in Dyfed, west Wales when the accident happened. He was left with severe brain damage and is now quadriplegic and requires 24-hour care.

Mr Owen filed a compensation claim against the driver of the tractor, Charles Brown, of Lleddau, Cribyn, Lampeter. Mr Brown’s insurers had admitted 90% liability for the accident. In London’s High Court, Judge Mr Justice Silber awarded Mr Watson £3,915,235 for damages from the insurers.

Before his accident Mr Owen, of Ysbryd-y-Llyn, Ciliau Aeron, Lampeter, was a promising young sportsman and had trials for the Welsh national Junior Football Team. He also played rugby and badminton as well as football and was an army cadet.

The court heard how Mr Owen had endured much in his struggle to come to terms with a lifetime of disability. Christopher Gardner QC told the court that as well as breaking his back in several places he also suffered a smashed lower jaw and had part of his gum ripped away. Surgeons had to reposition his jaw and gum “Literally his face had to be put back together.”

Mr Owen also sustained severe chest injuries in the accident which were treated by fitting titanium plates into his chest. He still suffers hypersensitivity and shooting pains in this area. He also suffered brain damage which has resulted in ‘cognitive blunting’ and memory loss. Mr Gardner also told the court how Mr Owen is also prone to painful spasms. He said: “Not only are these spasms painful, but they are a constant reminder of his situation.”

Since his accident Mr Owen has tried to continue his sporting life from a wheelchair, applying to take part in the Spinal Games, but the severity of his injuries and deterioration in his condition had made that impossible.

However, he vows to have children despite his disabilities. Mr Gardner said: “He would very much like to have two children, he’s always wanted children, and he doesn’t believe for a moment that it won’t happen.”

Mr Owens compensation will help to pay for his life-long care.

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