Collision leaves Polish pedestrian unable to speak English

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Collision leaves Polish pedestrian unable to speak English

26th March 2013

A Polish man who spent four days unconscious and lost his ability to speak English after he was struck by a car has received £60,000 in an out of court settlement.

Magdalena Knez, a specialist serious injuries lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the self-employed carpenter - who spoke English fluently after having lived in the UK for six years - cannot remember anything about the incident which left him fighting for his life and unable to speak his adopted language.

“My client, who is in his 40s, only remembers that he was on his way to buy some food,” she said. “His next memory is of waking up in hospital missing nine of his front teeth, not knowing where he was and unable even to remember the address of the friends he was staying with.

“After doctors told him that he’d been struck whilst crossing a road and brought in unconscious four days earlier, they said he’d suffered a head injury and memory loss,” added Magdalena. “He had also sustained several broken ribs, a collapsed lung, two broken vertebrae and had already undergone extensive surgery to have metalwork inserted into his shattered left arm and leg.”

A police report recorded that the claimant was struck by a car as he began crossing the road. The force of the impact was so strong that both of his shoes were knocked off and he was thrown several feet into the air.

“After my client was discharged from hospital wearing a neck brace and a cast on his arm and leg he spent the next two months at his friend’s house bed bound and unable to move,” said Magdalena. “Over the next several months, he suffered severe problems with his memory, concentration and speech and discovered that speaking English on a daily basis had become impossible compared to before his accident, when it had been second nature. In addition, he became extremely depressed and suffered frequent and distressing nightmares.”

Although the claimant’s neck brace was removed and the plaster around his leg was replaced with a boot cast after only eight weeks, the bones in and around his left shoulder and arm refused to heal. After further surgery on his arm, he then had to wear a shoulder cast for another nine months. Despite receiving extensive physiotherapy, he continued to suffer ongoing pain in his left leg, particularly around his ankle.

Magdalena said the defendant driver, who was never prosecuted, claimed to have braked sharply before hitting her client. “Police photographs taken from the scene however, clearly illustrate that the road is long, straight and well lit and at the time of the collision there were no parked cars or skid marks visible on the road,” she said.

“A motorist travelling at 30mph would have had a clear view of the road and plenty of time to stop in the event that they had needed to. Although the defendant claimed that he wasn’t speeding at the time, the force of the impact threw my client into the air, shattered the car’s windscreen and knocked off its wing mirror.

“As a result of his injuries, my client has had to endure a very slow, painful and difficult recovery and he can no longer run or climb ladders,” she added. “His ankle, which will always be stiff and sore, may need further surgery in the future and because his shoulder and arm remain weak, he is unable to lift anything heavy. Although his memory and language skills have improved since the accident, his standard of English is sadly nothing like it was before.”

After liability was denied, Magdalena settled the claim on behalf of her client for £60,000 subject to a deduction of 50% for contributory negligence, in July 2013.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious injuries including those sustained in road traffic accidents.

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.