A 24-year-old accident victim was awarded $21.7 million in damages yesterday after a car crash left him paralysed from the waist down and slightly mentally disabled. Lee Man-tat, who was 19 at the time of the accident, spent 22 months in hospital and is now confined to a wheelchair. He had been a passenger in Ngai Chung-lit's car on April 16, 1997. Ngai lost control of the vehicle on Sai Sha Road, in Ma On Shan. The car crashed into several barriers before overturning. Ngai died in hospital. Mr Lee was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital. The accident left him a paraplegic and slightly mentally disabled. Liability was not contested yesterday, but Mr Lee's initial $36 million claim was at issue. In the Court of First Instance, Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad said Mr Lee had been 'a loud, quick and explosive character' before the accident but had undergone a radical change since being confined to a wheelchair. Mr Justice Suffiad ordered National Insurance Co Ltd, representing the estate of Ngai, to pay Mr Lee $21.73 million to cover items including medical costs, lost future earnings and housing and transport costs.