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Pretoria - A once-brilliant pupil who suffered severe brain damage in a car accident on her way home from a matric after-party, is to receive R7.6 million in damages from the Road Accident Fund.
The money is to be paid into a trust account and managed by a curator appointed to act on behalf of Seipati Segoe who was left intellectually impaired by the accident.
The Pretoria High Court heard that Segoe had a bright future. But it is now doubtful that she will be gainfully employed, so she has no earning capacity.
Her parents are qualified teachers and Segoe had dreams of becoming a pharmacist.
Now 29, Segoe managed to obtain her matric three years after her accident despite the severe mental impairment.
Her intellectual capacity was described as that of a young child, yet she attended Denzer College where she wrote matric papers for six subjects.
Her mother helped her with her preparation for the exams and tutored her every day.
Although Segoe was depressed, with memory loss and mood swings, she passed five of the six subjects and obtained her National Senior Certificate.
Segoe was a 17-year-old pupil at the Settlers Agricultural High School in Bela Bela when the accident occurred in September 2001.
She was a passenger in a car in which she and her friends were being driven home from the matric after-party. They were on their way home to Mabopane, north of Pretoria, when the car hit a power box at the side of the road.
Segoe was flung from the car and was comatose when she was taken to the Dr George Mukhari Hospital, where she remained for five weeks.
She had severe brain damage, especially to the left frontal lobe.
The educational psychologist who evaluated Segoe noted that she had obtained excellent marks at school.
Now Segoe’s cognitive functioning fell in the borderline range and her verbal scale in the mentally impaired range.
Segoe’s performance scale fell in the average range.
According to the expert, Segoe’s academic functioning with regard to reading, spelling, writing, handwriting and mathematical abilities was impaired.
Her work speed on academic tasks was slow and her learning ability impaired.
The psychologist said that, at best, Segoe would be employable in a sheltered and supportive work environment.
In the expert’s opinion Segoe had passed matric as her mother had prepared her for the exams.
A neurologist said although she had been able to obtain a matric certificate, she might not be able to cope with the challenges of life outside a structured environment.
Segoe has been unemployed since completing Grade 12 in 2004.
Judge DS Molefe ordered that a curator had to manage the funds on behalf of Segoe, to ensure that she was fully cared for.