Insurers claim teen to blame for crash

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A TEENAGER crippled in a road accident was ‘reckless’ the High Court has been told by a barrister for the bus company he is suing.

But Benjamin Woodham’s barrister, David Melville, told Mr Justice Kenneth Parker last Thursday that the bus driver was ‘risking it’ by pulling out when she could not see.

Mr Woodham, 19, of Barton Road, Thurston, was paralysed from the waist down after receiving head and spine injuries when he struck the windscreen of a Mercedes minicoach on the A143 at Great Barton in October 2007. He is battling for between £2 million and £3 million damages for pain, suffering, future care costs and loss of income.

But the insurers of the minicoach owners J M Turner, trading as Turners of Great Barton, are fighting his claim.

Their barrister, Shaun Ferris, told the court that Mr Woodham had been riding his scooter at ‘excessive speed’ along a tailback of stationary traffic. He added: “His riding was not just negligent, it can properly be categorised as reckless or dangerous.

“All the blame, or the vast bulk of the blame, for this accident lies with Mr Woodham. The accident was caused, or substantially contributed to by his negligence’.

Mr Ferris told the court the minicoach driver Sarah Turner was ‘edging out carefully’ from a junction to get past traffic tailing back from temporary traffic lights.

But Mr Melville said she had tried to turn right out of School Lane, past a tractor and trailer while her view would have been restricted by the shape of her vehicle’s bonnet.

He added: “The reality is that this was a tricky situation for her but she could have made it completely safe by aligning herself with the centre white line, stopping and looking.

“What she did was to drive forward, however slowly, without being able to see. In a sense, she was risking it.”

The judge has reserved his decision to an unspecified date.