Case Study: Serious Injuries in Winter Car Accident

Seventy one year old Mrs B was involved in a head on collision and sustained serious injuries due to the defendant's bad driving

JMW has secured a substantial financial settlement for a woman who was injured in a serious car crash which was a result of the defendant's bad driving.

Seventy one year old Mrs B was driving during the run up to Christmas. Due to an ill judged overtaking manoeuvre on the part of the defendant, Mrs B was involved in a head on collision that resulted in a number of serious injuries.

During her journey, Mrs B noted that there was a gritter lorry on the opposite side of the road and slowed down to avoid her car being hit by the grit. As she approached the gritter lorry and before she was able to react, the defendant’s car was directly in front of her, having tried to overtake the gritter lorry. Mrs B was involved in a head on collision as a result of the defendant’s actions. Mrs B was unable to get out of her car for around an hour, and had to wait for the emergency services to come and cut her out of her car.

Mrs. B's Hospital Treatment

Mrs B was taken to hospital from the scene of the accident and admitted on the same day. She was diagnosed as having a fracture to her right patella (kneecap), serious chest injuries, whiplash and back pain. She remained in hospital until New Year’s Eve, however within a few hours Mrs B had to be re-admitted as she was suffering from a shortness of breath. Mrs B was then diagnosed as having respiratory acidosis (where decreased ventilation causes increased blood carbon dioxide concentration) and septicaemia. Mrs B was admitted into intensive care, and during this time, there was a concern that Mrs B may not survive. Mrs B was finally discharged from hospital at the end of January.

How Mrs B Built Her Case

When she was feeling better, Mrs B’s daughter in law got in touch with JMW Solicitors on her behalf and dealt with partner Ian Eyre.

Ian requested the defendant’s insurance details and a description of the accident from the police officers that had been present at the scene of the accident. These showed that the defendant had attempted to overtake three motor vehicles and the gritter lorry before colliding with Mrs B’s car.

The police decided to prosecute the defendant on a charge of driving without due care. He was fined £350 and disqualified from driving for 21 days. After this, Ian requested the defendant’s insurers confirm that liability for the accident was not to be disputed and that the defendant would be taking full liability. The defendant’s insurers confirmed this.

Ian also arranged for an Orthopaedic Surgeon to assess Mrs B and provide him with full information as to how Mrs B’s injuries were healing, with particular emphasis on her patella, and what the overall period for her recovery would be. This information would help Ian devise a realistic settlement figure that he would look to achieve for Mrs B during the course of the case.

The Orthopaedic Surgeon highlighted that Mrs B’s main injury was a comminuted fracture of the patella which initial treatment at the hospital failed to fully heal, however, left her with a “functional union”. Although replacement surgery could have been an option, the surgeon advised against this, due to Mrs B’s previous medical history. He also felt that the knee carried an arthritic potential. He also recommended that Mrs B visit a Chest Physician and a Respiratory Physician to further explore the problems she had with her chest.

The Compensation Settlement

During the course of the healing process, Mrs B felt able to once again drive and as her own car was a write off after the accident, Ian requested an interim payment from the defendant’s insurers, to assist Mrs B in buying a vehicle. In response, the insurers made an initial offer to settle Mrs B’s claim in full. Ian felt that this offer was premature, given that the insurers had not seen any medical reports that detailed Mrs B’s condition.

The Medical Assessment

Ian responded to the insurers, asking them to leave the offer open until we had received more medical reports, and also advised Mrs B to visit her local GP in the interim period between being able to see the Chest and Respiratory Physicians. The GP’s information was that Mrs B’s lungs were poor very soon after the accident, but that a couple of months later, they appeared to be getting better, and that the main issue with her respiration was due to an illness Mrs B had suffered many years prior to the accident, meaning that this problem was not relevant to her claim, and hence a compensation amount we sought for her should not take it into account.

As any chest and respiratory issues Mrs B had as a direct result of the accident would have had a bearing on the settlement figure Mrs B should have been entitled to, it was appropriate for us, at this stage, to assess the offer the defendant’s insurers made to Mrs B.

Settlement Offer

Ian discussed the matter with Mrs B and suggested that the offer the defendant’s insurer had made was a good one that would account for the problems she had with her patella, the additional assistance she had required from her family and her requirement for a new vehicle, and that she should consider accepting it.

Mrs B decided to accept this offer, which enabled her to move on with her life, get over the accident and the disturbance it had caused to her life.

Mrs B's Testimonial About JMW Solicitors

Mrs B was so very pleased with the service and how considerate Ian Eyre was. She said: “I couldn’t believe Ian actually came into my home, sat, relaxed and talked to me after my accident. Having someone come in, sit down, have a cup of tea and make you feel relaxed, was a wonderful experience. I can’t praise him and the company enough for everything that’s been done for me.”

A Warning to Road Users

It should be noted that Mrs B’s accident happened at around 18.30; a time that is light during the summer, but dark during the winter, and clearly requires motorists to be even more aware of their surroundings and the impact their actions have on other motorists. Thankfully on this occasion, the road surface was dry and without ice, however, motorists should take care and practice cautionary driving during the winter months.

Have You Also Suffered Injuries Due to Winter Weather?

If you or someone you know has also fallen victim to the winter weather, our expert team are here to help you. For tailored advice, call us today on 0800 054 6570, or head over to our online contact form and we will get back to you.

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