Top judges have ruled that a young man from St Helens, left with catastrophic brain injuries after a horrific head-on motorbike crash, is entitled to a significant payout.
Liam Clark, then 15, was a passenger on the back of Ryan Edmonds’ bike when it crashed into a rider heading from the opposite direction, Darren Farley, on the ‘Mad Mile’, in Bold Forest Park, near the M62.
Medical experts say Liam’s injuries, following the September 2012 collision, mean he “will never take his place in society” and he was represented at the High Court by counsel and his mother Nicola Woods.
Lawyers for the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), who were a defendant in the case as neither rider was insured, had tried to argue that Liam should not be entitled to compensation as he was party to a “joint enterprise” to ride dangerously with Mr Edmonds.
But Mrs Justice Yip, after a trial, ruled that while Liam would have been aware of the risks associated with riding motorbikes along the narrow path, it could not be inferred that he intended for his bike to be handled dangerously.
The judge decided that the negligence of the Clock Face youngster, who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, had contributed to the eventual outcome.
And she ruled that the expected payout, which will pay for his ongoing care, should be reduced by 40 per cent.
But Mrs Justice Yip added: “Sadly, I suspect that he gave no real thought to his safety.
“It is fair to say that many boys of his age fail to properly consider risks. Liam paid very heavily for the risk he took.”
Any payout would come from the MIB’s uninsured drivers agreement, the court heard.
The judge said that while even his mother accepted he may have been involved with motorbikes, outside of her knowledge, there was no evidence to suggest Liam had been to the Mad Mile before.
The court heard that the path along which the bikes had been travelling was mainly straight - but there was a slight bend just before the site of the crash with branches overhanging the scene.
An inspection of each of the bikes found that neither was roadworthy. Neither had lights or a speedometer fitted and Mr Edmonds’ bike had no foot pegs and the frame was broken in two places. Liam would have been unaware of this.
Farley, who was then 28, and Edmonds, then 19, were fined by St Helens magistrates for riding the bikes otherwise than in accordance with a licence and having no insurance.