A Canberra teenager has won $18.3 million compensation after she suffered a "severe penetrating traumatic brain injury" after timber planks "speared" through a car window and into her head in a traffic accident.
The girl, then aged eight, was sitting in the back seat of her father's car when it was rear-ended by a van loaded with more than 50 lengths of pine timber decking near a Cotter Road intersection at Curtin in October 2007.
The impact sent the vehicle spinning, causing the timber to shoot through a rear passenger and into the girl's head.
She suffered 35 separate injuries, including multiple skull fractures and extensive damage to her brain.
The girl had been left with a significant intellectual disability and mental impairments and would need life-long care.
Court documents listed 182 disabilities as a result of the crash, including loss of brain volume, significant neurocognitive impairment, and intellectual impairment.
Her family sued the van's driver for negligence in the ACT Supreme Court, arguing he had failed to drive safely, failed to keep a proper lookout or avoid the collision, had been driving too fast and hadn't properly secured his load.
The driver admitted he breached his duty of care to the girl and was found guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court of carrying an unsafe load in 2009.
Lawyers for the girl's family in the civil case claimed compensation for past and future economic loss, domestic assistance and out of pocket expenses.
The case ended with a judgment by consent before Justice John Burns on Friday.
In documents filed in court this week, the teenager's mother said she believed settling the case was in her daughter's best interests but it had been a difficult decision to make.
She said it had been "a huge responsibility" to make such a decision given the complexity of her daughter's case.
"My daughter's injuries are really serious, she is my youngest child, and I had hoped she would become a doctor," she said.
"I want to ensure she will be looked after for the rest of her life as my husband and I are in our 50s and our other daughters are aged 27 and 21."
She hoped her daughter would one day find a partner and have a family, she said in the documents.
The girl's parents had used an advance payment in March used to buy the block of land next to their Lyons home for a purpose-built house for their daughter.
They had spent almost $130,000 in medical expenses for the teenager, who had required physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hydrotherapy and psychological therapy.
"My husband, daughters and I have provided past care and assistance to [the plaintiff] since the accident on a 24-hour basis," the woman said.
"It has been really hard and put much strain on our family."
The girl's family declined to comment on Friday, but their lawyer, Nick Kitchin, of Ken Cush and Associates issued a short statement on their behalf.
"Our client suffered tragic injuries and the settlement approved by the court will ensure she can get the care and treatment she needs".