A man left disabled after he was hit by a speedboat driven by an 11-year-old boy has won £5.5 MILLION in compensation following a ten-year legal battle.
Ben Ridd, 23, was taking part in a competition organised by the Royal Yachting Association when he was just 13 years-old.
During the race, the powerboat he was travelling in became “hooked” on the first bend, causing it to come to a sudden stop.
The vessel behind, being driven by an 11 year-old with limited experience, was unable to stop, ploughing into the left side of the boat striking Ben’s head and fracturing his skull.
Paramedics rushed to the scene and began administering CPR on the youngster, from Poole, Dorset, before he was airlifted to Dorchester Hospital.
Ben, who now volunteers at a local charity shop, was left with haemorrhaging on the brain, a broken collar bone and a fractured spine.
He was left paralysed down the left-hand side of his body and has a serious neuropsychological disorder and is unable to speak or swallow properly.
After a decade-long legal battle the Royal Yachting Association has now admitted liability and shelled out #5.5 million in compensation.
His mum Leanne Ridd said she was extremely proud of her son’s progress.
She said: “Our son has demonstrated amazing fortitude and courage since his accident and amazed us all.
“He is determined to be as independent as his injuries allow him to be.
“With the assistance of his clinical team, he now volunteers at a local charity shop in Poole several times a week and is an avid Bournemouth FC fan attending many home and away games.
“He has maintained his passion for the water, attempting water skiing and canoeing for the disabled and continues to go out with his Dad on powerboats.
“Sadly he will never be able to drive a boat again due to his physical and cognitive difficulties.
“He is keen to get involved in inspirational speaking to help others affected by brain injuries by talking about the challenges he’s faced and how he’s overcome them. We are just so proud of him.”
Ben was taking part in a competition in Portland Harbour, Dorset, in June 2005 when the accident happened.
Both boats involved in the collision were being driven by inexperienced children.
However, the Royal Yachting Association, which organised the event, refused to take responsibility for the accident, despite a long battle with solicitors.
As a result, a lack of funds meant Ben was unable to access vital therapy, rehabilitation and neuropsychological support.
Law firm Novum Law, which specialise in complex brain injuries, has finally secured an admission of liability, almost ten years on.
Ben has now been awarded #5.5 million which can be used to fund his rehabilitation and support programme.
Kim Chamberlain, Associate Solicitor at Novum Law, said: “Achieving this award marks the beginning of a new chapter for Ben and his family.
“It brings to an end what has been an extraordinarily difficult nine and a half years for them all.
“It has been a lengthy battle to obtain a just settlement for Ben who requires support and rehabilitation for the remainder of his life due to his catastrophic injuries.
“There have been constant challenges throughout the life of this case and it is regretful that the Royal Yachting Association refused, for over 7 years, to admit liability.
“Ben suffered serious life-threatening injuries and almost lost his life.
“That refusal to admit liability meant that for many years, Ben did not have access to the specialist therapies, rehabilitation and support he desperately needed to enable Ben and his family to move on with their lives, adding to the ordeal already faced by him and his family.
“I am extremely pleased and reassured to know that Ben now has the security to meet his needs, allowing him to move forward and face the future with renewed confidence.”