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Brain injury victim receives £500,000 following motorway collision
A woman who had to resign from her job after suffering a significant brain injury in a motorway collision, has received £500,000 in an out of court settlement.
Rose Gibson, a brain injury specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the true nature of her client’s injuries was not immediately apparent following the incident on the A1 nearly three years ago. Since then, the insurance company of the other driver continually tried to settle the claim for a low offer, but thankfully the injured woman sought specialist legal advice.
“My client was being driven to her job as a postal worker by a colleague,” said Rose, a partner with the firm. “As they slowed their approach to a slip road taking them off the motorway, their car was struck from behind by another vehicle. The force of the impact caused the driver to lose control of the car which spun off the motorway and collided with a set of sandbags and a metal post at the side of the road.”
The mother-of-four from London suffered soft-tissue injuries to her neck and back and had to be cut free from the wreckage of the car by the fire brigade. After she was taken by ambulance to hospital suffering with shock, she underwent x-rays before being discharged with painkillers.
“Immediately after the collision, my client had a severe headache which she assumed was simply due to the stress of the incident,” said Rose. “However, over the following two weeks, her headache became increasingly painful and refused to disappear. When she consulted her GP, she was referred for a CT scan which revealed she had suffered acute blood haemorrhaging on the left side of her brain.”
Following surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the claimant’s headaches began to settle. However, the right side of her body and her left hand suddenly became extremely weak, her sense of smell and taste became impaired and her friends reported a change in her personality.
“The type of brain injury my client suffered is a well-recognised late complication following a significant head injury of the kind common amongst road collision victims,” said Rose. “Having suffered damage to her nervous system and the left side of her brain, she was initially unable even to use her right hand to feed herself and had to rely heavily on her sons and friends for support and help with her personal care.”
Despite months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, the claimant continued to suffer pain in her lower back and around her right shoulder and neck. In addition, she developed post-traumatic epilepsy and began regularly collapsing and suffering fits.
“My client’s brain injury has dramatically affected her speech, balance and mobility,” said Rose. “Her speech has become slurred and her memory, concentration, vocabulary and ability to communicate, even in writing, have all been severely impaired. In addition, her right leg is weak and drags behind her when she walks, which makes it extremely difficult for her to climb stairs and means she is only capable of moving very slowly.”
Rose said that her client had been a postal worker for a number of years and it was a job she loved and took great pride in. “Although she was able to return to her job after six months on lighter duties,” she said, “it quickly became apparent that she was medically unfit to perform her role and as such was unfortunately left with no other option but to retire on grounds of ill health.
“Although my client’s condition has very slightly improved in recent months, she continues to rely on her sons for help with washing, shopping, cleaning and preparing meals,” said Rose. “Her balance and co-ordination remain poor and she will need assistance from the Court of Protection to manage her financial affairs. Furthermore, she can no longer use public transport, she will need considerable case management to assist with her rehabilitation, treatment and therapy and she will need significant modifications made to her home to cater for her needs.
“This was a case where the defendant’s insurers constantly responded to our requests for interim payments by making low value offers in settlement,” added Rose. “They refused to admit liability and no interim payments were received for my client’s rehabilitation until just before the limitation period. If she had received proper rehabilitation from a private unit earlier on, her recovery could have been so much better. My client quite rightly resisted the pressure to accept inappropriate offers however, she would have been able to recover substantially more in compensation than she ended up receiving, were it not for a number of medical conditions she already suffered with prior to her accident which would have affected her mobility and future ability to work in any event.”
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