Boy wins record £8m in childs compensation for spine injuries

A nine-year-old boy who was left severely disabled and brain damaged after he was accidentally run over by his father has been awarded over £8 million in compensation.

Callum Cross was just two years old when his father Patrick knocked him down after failing to see him when reversing out of the car park at Mead Open Farm, near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, during a family day out. The young child suffered catastrophic spinal and brain injuries in the accident in March 2002 and now requires full time care.

He was awarded £8.1 million by the High Court in London, a record payout for a spinal injury after Mr Cross’s insurers admitted liability. Mrs Justice Swift was told by the Cross family counsel, Frank Burton, that an interim payment of £1.7 million had already been paid to the family, and had enabled them to purchase a suitable family home in which to care for all of Callum’s needs. Callum now lives in Milton Keynes with his mother Julie Eriksson and stepfather, his twin bother Ben and his seven-year-old twin brother’s Jack and Keiron.

A settlement was reached of a £2.5 million lump sum plus annual payments of £220,000 once all the evidence of Callum’s needs was made clear. Mrs Justice Swift approved the payout as in Callum’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Swift paid tribute to the family in court saying: “I am amazed and admiring of the care – not only the physical care but the thought and consideration of the family – which has gone into Callum’s upbringing. It is quite clear that, although he is in many ways a delightful boy, he can be difficult on occasions, and I have no doubt that considerable patience, forbearance and hard work is required to deal with that. I wish him, and the family as a whole, well for the future and, while this order cannot possibly put him back to the circumstances, in which he otherwise would have been, I hope it will play its part in enabling him to live to his full potential and assist the family in the difficult task of providing for his future.”

The family solicitor Paul Paxton later said that the total award of £8.1 million would have been substantially higher if Callum had a normal life expectancy, but that it was still thought to be the highest compensation payout for a spinal cord injury. He said that Callum’s mother was delighted with the settlement and relived that the case was over, and now they can give Callum the proper care he deserves fro the rest of his life. He said: “Money can never replace what he has lost but he is part of a loving family.”

National co-ordinator of the spinal chord injuries group Warren Collins said: “This is a substantial award but it is not a lottery win.” When taken into consideration, Callum’s compensation for pain and suffering was just £275,000; the rest is for care and equipment. Mr Collins said: “If Callum lives to be 50, then that equates to just £18 a day – for being brain and spinal chord injured, being doubly incontinent, having no sexual function, being unable to earn a living and requiring care for the rest of his life. That’s what people have to remember.”

Callum’s father Mr Croft was not available for comment.

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