Birmingham Teen To Receive Large Payout A Decade After Crash

31 July 2018, 16:19

High Court London

A teenager - knocked down by a speeding car in Birmingham - is due to receive a large payout after a High Court ruling.

Caine Ellis was eight when he was run over near Fox Hollies Park in Gospel Lane, Acocks Green, Birmingham, in September 2008.

He suffered a severe brain injury and is unlikely to be able to work or live independently.

The insurers of motorist Paul Kelly, who was travelling at more than 40mph in what one witness described as a "play area" which attracted many children, admitted primary liability, but claimed that Caine, who had been unaccompanied for the first time, and his mother Violet bore some blame for what happened.

Mrs Justice Yip said Caine was being allowed to taste independence "in a way that should have been safe".

On Tuesday in London, she entered judgment for Caine, who lives in Birmingham, with damages to be assessed on a full liability basis.

She said Caine, who had briefly left his cousins in the playground and wanted to get back to them, was running diagonally towards a zebra crossing when he saw the car and misjudged its capacity to stop in time.

"I find that this was a case of momentary misjudgment on Caine's part balanced against reckless conduct on the part of the defendant, whose driving was outside Caine's expectation based on his understanding and experience."

The judge said it would be "wholly wrong" to find Mrs Ellis blameworthy.

She was a responsible mother who took proper care for her son's safety and had taught him the Green Cross Code.

She had just started to let Caine go out without her but in a controlled way and only let him go as far as Gospel Lane, which she was entitled to regard as a "safe play area" if he was with his older cousins.

"She was letting Caine taste independence in a way that should have been safe.

"No matter how careful a parent is, it is impossible for children to be completely protected from risk.

"Keeping children cooped up and not allowing them to experiment with small freedoms carries its own risk.

"There is a difficult balance to be struck.

"Different parents in different circumstances will make different decisions about how best to strike that balance.

"Sadly, when something goes catastrophically wrong, a parent may look back and agonise over the choice they made.

"The fact that, with hindsight, they would have taken a different course is very far from establishing that their original choice was wrong, still less that they were negligent."