A seven year-old girl, who was permanently scarred because of a collision with a passing motorcycle when she was just four years old, has received £50,000 in compensation for the incident.
The child, whose name has not been released though comes from Co. Armagh, was injured in May 2013, aged just four years old, as she was playing outside her grandparents’ house. As she was playing, a passing motorcyclist scraped the child’s cheek with the handlebars of his “scrambler” motorcycle.
The handlebars lacerated the four year-old’s cheek, causing a gash into her mouth. She suffered extensive damage to her jaw and teeth, as well as many psychological injuries. The young girl developed a phobia of the loud noises produced by motorcycle engines, and had recurring nightmares in the weeks after the incident.
The child’s mother, acting on the little girl’s behalf, consulted a solicitor and proceeded to make a claim for the scrambler bike injury against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The bureau, who deal with cases concerning uninsured or unidentified drivers, admitted liability for the injuries, and the case proceeded to the courts in Belfast for assessment.
Mr Justice Stephens presided over the assessment hearing in Belfast, and was given evidence that the since the incident, the young girl was still dependent and clingy at the sound of motorcycles. Initially, whenever the engines could be heard passing her house, she would scream in terror.
Upon examining the prominent scar on the girl’s cheek, Judge Stephens noted that “when the plaintiff smiles, expressing happiness and enjoyment, the impact of the smile is spoilt by the scar becoming markedly indented.”
The judge described the girl as “relatively shy”, adding that size of the scar meant that she would be very conscious of it as she grew. Regrettably, the nature and location of the scar means that plastic surgery is unlikely to have a pronounces effect.
The girl was then awarded £90,000 by the judge in compensation for the injuries she sustained, accounting for both the physical and psychological effects of the accident.