A WOMAN who suffered devastating injuries when she was hit by a car after stepping off a school bus as a child has won more than £1 million following an 11-year legal fight.

Lesley Jackson was left with serious head injuries and a smashed pelvis after the accident outside her family home near New Byth in Aberdeenshire in January 2004, when she was 13.

A judge who ruled on the original compensation claim awarded her £2.25 million, but this was reduced to £225,000 after he said that she should take 90 per cent of the blame for the accident. Under that ruling she stood to receive £225,000.

The accident happened at dusk when Ms Jackson and her twin sister, Lindsay, got off a school minibus along the A98 Fraserburgh to Banff Road.

Eyewitnesses said that the schoolgirl walked round the bus and came out from behind it, taking two steps onto the road before breaking into a run.

She was struck by a car travelling in the opposite direction at 50mph and thrown into the air by the impact, landing in the road.

The key debate surrounding her compensation claim was how much of a part she had played in the accident, and whether she had been negligent by crossing the road without looking.

After it was ruled that she had mostly been to blame in her initial compensation claim, Ms Jackson she launched a battle in the appeal courts and turned to the highest court in the land when the Scottish Court of Session held that she was 70 per cent to blame, giving her 30 per cent, or £675,000.

The Supreme Court in London has now ruled that she was entitled to more and should receive £1.125m as the accident had been equally the fault of both parties.

Ms Jackson is now 23 and still suffers from the effects of the accident, and has been left with life-changing physical and brain injuries.

Judges recognised that she had failed to look both ways before running across the road and had badly misjudged the amount of time she would have to reach safety.

However, they also said that the driver of the car was equally culpable as he had not taken any precautions after seeing the school bus parked at the side of the road.

The court ruled that the motorist should have slowed to 30mph as it would have been apparent that children would be leaving the vehicle.

The judgement said: "He was negligent in not reducing his speed by at least 10 mph and not keeping a proper lookout because there was a danger, which he ought to have foreseen, that a passenger, who might be a child, might emerge from behind the bus and attempt to cross the road without exercising care."

The judgement concluded: "An assessment of the defender's speed in the circumstances was far from easy. Attempting to cross a relatively major road with a 60mph speed limit, after dusk and without street lighting, is not straightforward, even for an adult.

"The Extra Division considered that the defender's behaviour was "culpable to a substantial degree", with which Lord Reed agrees. "Overall the Extra Division's reasoning does not provide a satisfactory explanation of their conclusion that the pursuer bore the major share of responsibility.

"Lord Reed considered the defender's conduct played at least an equal role to that of the pursuer in causing the damage and was at least equally blameworthy. He therefore allows the appeal and awards 50% of the agreed damages to the pursuer."