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Amputee receives compensation following collision
A woman who suffered life-changing injuries when she was run down by a motorist nearly seven years ago has received more than £860,000 in an out of court settlement.
The grandmother, who is in her 50s, has undergone a total of 12 operations, including an above the knee amputation to her left leg, since the incident occurred in 2005.
Serious injury specialist Nick Sayer of Fentons Solicitors LLP, who represented the woman, said his client had been on her way home when she was run down by a motorist who failed to see her as his windscreen was covered in ice.
“According to the passenger in the defendant’s car, even though the windscreen was completely covered in ice the driver made no attempt to clear it,” said Mr Sayer, an associate with the firm. “She distinctly remembers asking him on more than one occasion if he could actually see well enough to drive. In addition, according to a separate witness, the defendant was so badly positioned in the road that it looked like he was about to turn right and at one point had even almost crossed the centre lane into the path of oncoming traffic.
Mr Sayer said that because of the driver’s poor road positioning, the victim had mistakenly assumed the car was about to turn right and believed it was safe to cross. “The impact threw my client several feet up into the air,” he said. “After an ambulance rushed her to hospital, scans revealed she had suffered a broken left arm as well as multiple complex fractures and extensive ligament damage to both her knees.”
After spending almost 10 weeks in hospital and undergoing five separate operations on her arm and knees, the retired victim was discharged in a wheelchair and returned home to the home she shared with her parents.
“Over the next few months, my client underwent three more operations on her knees and was largely confined to her bed and wheelchair,” said Mr Sayer. “During this time she suffered with persistent and severe pain, swelling and stiffness as well as ongoing sleeplessness, depression and traumatic flashbacks.
“By the following year, the injury to her knee had failed to heal and her pain had become so unbearable that she underwent a total knee replacement,” he added. “But despite receiving several months of extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation over the next four years - during which time her mother very sadly died, her father was moved into a care home and her youngest daughter became her full-time carer - she continued to suffer ongoing pain, infections and problems getting about without her wheelchair.”
Five years on from the incident, the woman was suffering with severe depression and exhaustion on top of battling a long-standing and deep-rooted severe infection in her knee, which had become so painful that she was required to take morphine-based medication up to four times a day. It was at this point that she felt like she simply couldn’t go on with things as they were and after consulting her doctors, who advised her that it was the best course of action she could take, she decided to have her left leg amputated above the knee.
“This was obviously an incredibly hard decision for my client to make,” said Mr Sayer. “However, after having to endure such a prolonged period of pain, exhaustion and constant medication - which was making her speech slurred, preventing her from sleeping and generally making her life a misery - she decided enough was enough and in order for her to enjoy a substantially better quality of life, she needed to have her leg removed.
“Although my client is extremely happy she can finally sleep for more than a few hours at a time and she no longer has to live with permanent pain in her left knee, she is still confined to her wheelchair and almost entirely dependent on her youngest daughter for all her day-to-day needs,” he added. “In addition, her right knee, which has understandably been under considerable strain since the operation, has become extremely unstable and painful as a result and her doctors now fear she will need a further operation to replace that knee within the next few years.”
Mr Sayer said the injuries his client had suffered through no fault of her own have had a truly devastating effect upon her mobility and general quality of life. “This woman has been subjected to more than five years of constant pain which has had a significant effect upon her mental health and her family,” he said. “The inordinate length of time this case has unfortunately taken to settle has been extremely challenging for all involved because in an ideal world people shouldn’t have to wait so long to receive the compensation they deserve.
“After we were first instructed, liability was admitted the following year with an 80/20 split. However, up until the point that my client had her leg amputated, it wasn’t clear whether her condition would improve to a position whereby she could keep her leg. My client fought long and hard to overcome her injuries and we secured her more than £100,000 in interim payments, but because her injuries took so long to settle, medical experts were unable to predict her future needs.
“It was only after her operation that her medical position became more certain and we were able to eventually finalise all the medical and other evidence to properly value her claim,” said Mr Sayer. “Although she accepts that she is going to need care and assistance for the rest of her life, we very much hope the settlement she has now received will help her to lead as normal and independent a life as possible.”
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