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Case Study: Severe Brain Injury Following a Car Accident
Mrs P Was Awarded £3.75 million
Mrs P was a pedestrian crossing the road outside her home when she was knocked over by a driver. The accident caused Mrs P to suffer a severe brain injury. Her husband, Mr V, decided to pursue a claim on her behalf and contacted JMW after being recommended to us by a friend. His claim was handled by both Chris Sutton, Partner, and Andrew Lilley, Partner.
Mrs P’s case was being handled by another firm of solicitors when Mr V contacted us, however Mr V felt that they did not have the necessary expertise to deal with his wife’s claim.
Chris Sutton, Partner, visited Mr V at home to get a detailed understanding of the case. We requested that the previous solicitor send over their file of papers on the case. Once we had this information, we sent a letter outlining the claim and Mrs P’s injuries, to the driver of the vehicle, the defendant, who passed it to her insurance company to deal with, who appointed their solicitor to the case.
The collision Mrs P was involved in, threw her into the air and onto the other side of the road, where she was hit by a second car. She suffered a catastrophic brain injury and had a piece of her skull removed to evacuate a blood clot on her brain. Her brain injury caused her to be in a coma for almost a month. Mrs P then remained in hospital for almost a year, where Mr V visited her regularly to provide support, before being released. The accident left her confined to a wheelchair, unable to express herself, understand or process information, bladder and bowel incontinent and in requirement of round the clock care.
Establishing appropriate care
Prior to Mrs P’s release from hospital, it was imperative a care package was in place to ensure her needs were met. We liaised with the defendant’s solicitor and appointed a Case Manager to assess Mrs P’s current and future needs. It was recommended that if Mrs P were to be at home, she should have two support workers with her throughout the day, and one at night. After liaison with the hospital Mrs P was in, her appointed Case Worker, Social Services and Mr V, it was decided that Mrs P would have a live-in carer and a full nursing package put in place.
Recommendations were also made for adaptations to Mrs P’s home, including the building of a conservatory and a ramp to be fitted at the front of the home to enable better wheelchair access.
The defendant was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention and the criminal case was brought before the Magistrates Court. At the Magistrates Court, the defendant was acquitted of driving without due care and attention on the basis that it had been impossible for her to see Mrs P in the road because her position was obscured by the glare of oncoming headlights.
Supporting evidence on the case
Following the result of the criminal case, the defendant’s solicitor mounted a robust defence to the claim. We took witness statements and instructed an accident reconstruction expert to prepare a report, along with a team of the leading experts in the fields of care, accommodation, occupational therapy, neuro-physiotherapy and neuro-rehabilitation to set out what regime Mrs P needed to see to her daily needs for the rest of her life.
Following the accident reconstruction expert’s conclusions, we also instructed an expert in emergency medicine who confirmed that if the defendant had braked to slow her vehicle by as little as 5-8 mph, then the catastrophic injuries Mrs P sustained would not have occurred.
Resolving the case
We issued Court proceedings on the case. After an exchange of proposed directions between ourselves and the defendant’s solicitor, intended to resolve Mrs P’s claim, it was agreed to hold a joint settlement meeting to determine both the extent of liability the defendant held, and the level of compensation Mrs P should be awarded.
At the joint settlement meeting we were able to reach a settlement of £3.75 million. As we agreed a level of contributory negligence split 72.5/27.5 in Mrs P’s favour, due to Mrs P’s positioning on the road, this settlement represented a gross figure of just under £5.2 million.
While this compensation award can never restore Mrs P to her former health, Mr V and his family are very grateful for all the tough approach JMW took on Mrs P’s case, the considered appointment of the best medical experts in the field and determination to ensure Mrs P’s future was adequately provided for.
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