Compensation at last for man hit by car whilst crossing road

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Compensation at last for man hit by car whilst crossing road

18th July 2012

A man who was hit by a car whilst crossing the road near his home has received £150,000 in damages following a lengthy legal battle with insurers.

The 57-year-old sustained serious leg injuries after he was hit by a car as he was making his way home at around 6pm on 24 October, 2009. But for more than two years, the driver of the car and his insurers claimed that the supermarket worker had simply fallen awkwardly as the car passed him, and tried to settle the claim for an unreasonably low amount.

Sami Palmer-Latif, a specialist serious injuries lawyer with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the legal battle had been dragged on far too long by the driver and his insurers.

“Despite the severity and obvious nature of the injury, the defendants maintained throughout the claim that my client’s injuries had been caused by his falling awkwardly at the side of the road,” he said. “He broke his leg in two places - with one bone being described as ‘shattered’ by an orthopaedic specialist - yet they still argued he had just had a bad fall. It was unbelievable.”

The injured man explained that he had been taking his usual route home from work at the time of the incident. “I checked for cars and as the road was clear I began to make my way across,” said the victim, from Chorley. “I was only a couple of feet from the far kerb when out of the corner of my eye I suddenly saw a car coming towards me. I managed to take a couple more steps, but with the short distance and the speed of the car I knew I wouldn’t make it to the pavement.”

As he instinctively turned towards the oncoming car, the bumper hit his leg and sent him crashing to the floor. “I clutched my leg and tried to reach the pavement, but I was in so much pain I just couldn’t move,” he said. “The driver didn’t try to avoid me, sound his horn or appear to slow down – he just hit me,” he said.

The injured man could see that his leg was obviously broken, and thankfully two drivers stopped and went to his aid. “One of them brought me a blanket and placed it over me,” he said. “The driver who’d hit me also stopped and came over. When I asked if he’d hit me, he didn’t seem to know.”

Paramedics and the police were called and he was taken by ambulance to hospital, where it was confirmed he had broken his leg below the knee. “At Chorley Hospital my leg was set straight and placed in a temporary cast,” he said. “Even though I was given morphine, I was in almost unbearable pain. I was told that I had not only suffered a tibia and fibula fracture, but that my tibia had in fact shattered.”

He had numerous x-rays and MRI scans, and underwent emergency surgery. He was in theatre for three-and-a-half hours as a bone graft was taken from his pelvis and metal plates were inserted into his lower left leg.

He had to wear a leg brace for more than three months afterwards, but was still unable to bear any weight on the leg. The injuries left him unable to work for almost a year, and he ultimately lost his job as a result.

Mr Palmer-Latif said that the insurers offered to settle the claim early in the case, but their offer did not reflect the serious nature or long-term impact of the injury.

“We issued proceedings and a trial was due to begin in May this year to determine the issue of liability,” he said. “But at a meeting shortly before the trial, the defendants substantially increased their offer to a more appropriate level.

“It’s disgraceful that it took them more than two years to settle a claim which could have been dealt with much, much earlier,” he said. “This fight has caused my client and his family substantial heartache, but nevertheless he is relieved that he chose to fight on and not accept the low offer the insurers had made.

“This is yet another case where had a seriously injured victim not had the option of pursuing a case under a Conditional Fee Agreement – or ‘no win, no fee’ – the likelihood he is he would have been denied his access to justice as the costs of the case would have just been astronomical,” said Mr Palmer-Latif.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of injuries sustained in road traffic collisions.

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.