Man left paralysed in car crash could get 'millions'

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By Walsall Advertiser | Thursday, June 21, 2012, 09:20

A YOUNG Walsall man left paralysed for life after his friend crashed a car they were travelling in has been told he could be in line for "several millions" of pounds' worth of compensation.

Ian Stych, 23, was catastrophically injured when Anthony Dibble lost control and crashed the Range Rover he had taken without permission from the Walsall garage where he worked back in June 2008.

Mr Stych was left screaming in pain, begging medics and his family to put him out of his misery, but has recovered to face a life confined to a wheelchair.

Following the smash, he sued Dibble, who was convicted of aggravated vehicle taking and sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, after the accident.

But the insurers of the car defended his claim, arguing that he knew, or had reason to believe, he was in a car which had been taken without authority.

But Mr Justice Stadlen delivered judgement on the application at London's High Court last Thursday (June 14), ruling in Mr Stych's favour and opening the way for his massive damages claim to proceed.

"Ian did not know when he allowed himself to be driven by Anthony in the Range Rover that Anthony had taken it unlawfully, in that he had taken it without permission," he said.

In a hearing at Birmingham District Registry in April, the judge was told that the two teenagers had been with friends at Aldridge Tyres, where Dibble sometimes worked.

The accident happened when Dibble offered to drive Mr Stych home and lost control, crashing into a parked van in Jessie Road, where he lived.

In his evidence, Mr Stych said he had taken his seatbelt off as the car approached his home, but Dibble suddenly sped up and began weaving across the road.

He then lost control of the car and hit the van, causing the Range Rover to flip in the air and come crashing down to the ground on its roof.

Mr Stych said he remembered little of what happened after the smash until he woke up in hospital with the "worst pain" he could imagine. He was unable to move and began shouting at doctors, nurses and his family to kill him to get away from the intense pain, the court heard.

He said the question of whether Dibble was allowed to take and drive the car had never entered his head and all he was thinking about was getting home.

Dibble claimed Mr Stych and another friend had egged him on to take the vehicle out and that, when driving, Mr Stych had encouraged him to speed up.

Giving his judgement, Mr Justice Stadlen said: "As was recognised by both sides, this is a case which turns principally on an assessment of the truthfulness and credibility of Ian and Anthony.

"I found Ian to be a very impressive witness, whereas I found Anthony to be an unsatisfactory witness and, where their testimony was in conflict, I preferred that of Ian to that of Anthony."

The judge's decision means Mr Stych's damages claim – which is likely to run into several millions of pounds to cover the enormous costs of a lifetime's care and support – can now go ahead to a full hearing.

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