Damages awarded in case repeatedly turned down by other solicitors

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Damages awarded in case repeatedly turned down by other solicitors

17th January 2011

An HGV driver who remained trapped and unconscious for over an hour after colliding with the back of another lorry, has received more then £320,000 in an out of court settlement.

Nick Godwin, a serious injuries specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the man had been driving along an unlit section of the A14 at 50mph when the defendant without warning pulled out of an adjacent lay-by into his path. "Rather then leaving the lay-by via the existing exit, the other lorry pulled straight out onto the dual carriageway, across a concrete verge leaving insufficient time to avoid a collision," said Nick.

"My client simply could not have anticipated such a dangerous manoeuvre. As a result of the collision he suffered multiple, life-threatening injuries and had to be cut from his vehicle by emergency services."

Nick, an associate with the firm, said that a police collision investigation report confirmed his client was driving at a safe speed for the conditions within the speed limit. "Tellingly, the defendant's tachograph chart indicated that his speed at the point of collision was just 11mph," said Nick. "Rather then taking the opportunity to accelerate along the full length of the lay-by, joining the road at the conventional exit, the defendant chose to drive over a raised kerb and join a dual-carriageway at the vastly inappropriate speed of 11mph."

The victim, a West Midlands tanker driver in his 30s, remembers nothing about the immediate run-up to the accident but can vaguely recall being cut from his cab. He next remembers being in hospital the following day where he was found to be suffering from post-traumatic amnesia, having sustained lacerations to his head as well as a shattered wrist, numerous broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, a collapsed lung and a shattered knee.

Despite the police arresting the defendant at the scene and subsequently charging him with dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention, the CPS later decided against proceeding with the case as they could not determine the exact position of the defendant's vehicle before he pulled out of the lay-by.

"My client originally instructed a solicitors firm through his union, but they promptly dropped the case when the CPS decided not to prosecute the other driver," said Nick. "My client approached other solicitors who again refused to take on the case as they felt it was unlikely to succeed.

"We were approached by the client with time in which to settle his claim or start court proceedings rapidly running out. Not deterred by the previous solicitor's advice, we agreed to take the case and after reviewing the evidence, I felt very strongly that there was a case to answer which had not been adequately addressed previously.

"Within three months of taking the case on, the defendants made an offer to my client of £125,000 which we rejected," added Nick. "Within just eight months from instruction, we obtained a wealth of supporting evidence, commenced court proceedings and nearly trebled the defendant's earlier offer - all whilst liability was strongly denied."

The claimant was offered redundancy nine months after the accident as his wrist and knee injuries made it impossible for him to climb into the raised cab of his lorry. After just having undergone a total knee replacement, he remains off work and has been advised to only seek work of a sedentary nature.

"Today, he has numbness and scars on the left side of his forehead and above his eyelid," said Nick. "He has been told he will need two further total knee replacements in the course of his life and he is at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy.

"Prior to his accident, my client was an avid sportsman who has since been prevented from leading the kind of active life he was used to. Despite his dramatically altered circumstances he is understandably delighted with the outcome of this case and hopes his settlement will help him explore alternative career options once he has recovered sufficiently from his most recent operation."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious 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.