Family's 'relief' after record $20m payout for crash victim
THE family of a southeast Queensland man who was awarded $20 million in damages and compensation after a car crash say it's a "relief" to know their son will be taken care of.
Chrys Barker was 26 when he suffered severe brain injuries as a result of a car crash in 2014 that also killed his cousin, Bobby-Lee Hobbs, and has since been confined to a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care.
His parents, Allan and Betty Barker, have fought tirelessly to ensure their son could "enjoy life" at home, rather than in an aged-care facility. Now, the record payout will allow them to do just that.
"People do see a lot of money in the payout but it's not for us, it's for Chrys. It's to make Chrys's life comfortable for the rest of his life," Mr Barker said.
"Knowing that he's safe is such a relief off our minds. Being with him everyday makes us feel better. It makes Chrys feel better."
Bribie Island man Craig Edward Jones pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, causing Bobby Lee Hobbs' death and Chrys's lifelong injuries
The court heard an analysis of Jones's blood three hours after the crash revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.219 as well as traces of prescription medications.
Mr Barker has urged people to think twice before getting behind the wheel drunk, and said his son's disability and nephew's death could have been avoided.
"None of this would have happened if that fella hadn't of (driven drunk) that day," he said.
The Barkers have transformed their Donnybrook home to accommodate for Chrys after presenting insurer RACQ with medical opinions that Chrys would be better cared for at his parents' home. The RACQ and the Barkers had to wait until Chrys's health stabilised before they could agree on the $20.5 million settlement.
"Chrys and his family have endured more than most families should ever have to go through," Jamie Shine, of Shine Lawyers, said.
"Thankfully we have been able to secure a settlement which means his family can rest assured in the knowledge that Chrys's future care costs will now be managed even if they are unable to continue providing this themselves."
The compensation covers the costs of Chrys's future care needs and will be held in its entirety by a trustee company to manage for the rest of his life.
Ms Shine said the horrific day would be etched into the Barkers' memories for the rest of their lives.
"Chrys survived the accident but has been left with a devastating traumatic brain injury, which has dramatically impacted his life and the lives of his entire family," she said.
"It has been an extremely challenging five years for the Barker family. They have been by his side every single day ... to ensure that Chrys has the best possible chance of improvement and have provided him with high-quality care. Now, finally, they have the reassurance that Chrys will be looked after for the rest of his life."