Brain injury victim receives £1.5m following ice skid collision

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Brain injury victim receives £1.5m following ice skid collision

18th October 2012

A man who was left with a devastating brain injury following a road traffic collision nearly five years ago has received £1.5m in an out of court settlement.

Martin James, a catastrophic injuries specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the man, who is in his 40s, was driving to work when his car skidded on a patch of black ice and spun into a tree.

“My client was cut from his car unconscious and airlifted from the scene,” said Martin, a partner at the firm. “He suffered a very significant traumatic brain injury and remained in a coma for the next six weeks. When he eventually came round, he had no recollection of the incident and was almost totally paralysed down his right side.”

Following treatment, the claimant was transferred to a specialist rehabilitation hospital where for the next 13 months he underwent extensive speech and occupational therapy as well as daily physiotherapy to enable him to relearn how to walk, talk and balance.

“At the time of the incident, my client was living with his partner who he was shortly due to marry,” said Martin. “Towards the end of his time in hospital, he had some trial weekends back at home to assess the possibility of him reintegrating with her and her children. Unfortunately however, it quickly became apparent that this would not be possible due to the significant amount of care he needed and as a result, it was decided he would benefit more if he had a professional care regime and an independent system of comprehensive case management instead.”

Around 18 months after the incident, the claimant’s relationship with his fiancée broke down and he was discharged to a Local Authority-funded bungalow where he remains to this date and continues to receive professional care each day.

“My client has significant ongoing memory and speech difficulties although these are expected to improve in time,” said Martin. “In the mean time, the damage he has suffered to his brain has dramatically affected his independence and ability to simply interact with the world around him, particularly in regard to any kind of unexpected event occurring outside of the daily routine he has now become used to. In addition, he cannot now intentionally move his right arm, knee and fingers and he has no control of his right leg and hip.”

Martin said the issue of liability was fiercely contested by the council in question, who denied fault on the basis that they had a proper system in place to deal with snow and ice which relied on regular forecasts to determine whether or not local roads needed gritting.

“The defendant maintained that forecasts made during the night before the incident predicted that road surface temperatures would not fall below zero,” said Martin. “They were adamant that according to the system available to them at the time, ice was not a possibility and as such, gritting on the morning of the incident had not been required. However, we were able to secure vital evidence that the road had in fact been icy on the morning in question, particularly from members of the emergency services who attended the scene and experienced first hand just how icy it was when a fire engine skidded on the ice and a fireman slipped whilst walking around the crash site.

“Although my client sustained a very severe traumatic brain injury he has fortunately retained enough mental capacity to be able to manage his own financial affairs and litigation,” added Martin. “However, he remains extremely physically impaired and heavily reliant on his personal carers to monitor all aspects of his daily life. He requires ongoing rehabilitation and will need very careful medical supervision for the rest of his life. Sadly, it is unlikely he will ever be able to walk unaided or be able to undertake any kind of gainful employment.

“This was a horribly tragic case in which my client had everything he cherished, in terms of his fiancée, his health and a job he loved and excelled at, snatched away from him in an instant,” said Martin. “Obviously no amount of money can possibly compensate for the enormity of his loss but we sincerely hope his settlement, care and rehabilitation regime will enable him to gradually progress towards the life he used to know and love and help him face the future with renewed confidence.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious head and brain injuries.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.