Damages for serious head injury victim following collision

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Damages for serious head injury victim following collision

6th June 2012

A Suffolk man who suffered a serious head injury following a collision has received more than £160,000 in an out of court settlement.

Joanna Bailey, a serious injuries expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said her client had been on a family holiday in Cornwall when the car he was a passenger in was involved in a collision with another vehicle more than four years ago.

“My client and his friend were passengers in the back seat of a car being driven by his father when a 4x4 vehicle came hurtling around a bend towards them,” said Joanna, a partner at the firm. “The driver was completely out of control as she exited the bend and skidding and swerving her vehicle from left to right, she lurched into the wrong side of the road and smashed into the side of my client’s car.”

When the emergency services arrived at the scene the 4x4 vehicle was lying on its side across the road leaking fuel and the claimant’s car was perched on a verge having suffered considerable damage from the impact.

The claimant, a self-employed floor fitter, who is in his 30s, suffered a fractured skull and a laceration to the right side of his head as well as bleeding on his brain. He was taken by ambulance to hospital and following a CT scan was transferred to the intensive care unit where he was initially kept in an induced coma.

“Every time my client woke up he became increasingly confused and agitated as he simply couldn’t grasp where he was and why he was in hospital,” said Joanna, who for many years has represented victims injured in serious road collisions. “Having suffered post-traumatic amnesia, he had no memory whatsoever of the collision or the hours leading up to it and can remember very little about the subsequent three weeks that he spent in hospital.”

After five days, the client was transferred to a specialist neuro-rehabilitation centre where he remained for the next two weeks before he was discharged as an outpatient into the care of a community therapy team for assessment.

“When my client was finally sent home he was still extremely confused and disorientated,” said Joanna. “Over the next few months he continued to struggle with anxiety, fatigue and dizziness as well as problems with his memory, speech and vision.

“The head injury he sustained in the collision had a huge impact on his life,” she added. “Three years on from his accident he was still suffering with fatigue, lethargy and problems with his concentration and it took another year before he was able to return to work.”

The defendant was charged with driving without due care and attention but the case was dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service decided they were unwilling to proceed owing to an allegation that there had been diesel on the road at the time of the accident. This was despite police investigators having checked the accident scene several times and concluding that although there had been spilled fuel around the defendant’s upturned car, there was no evidence of any kind of diesel spillage on the approach to the scene to support her claim.

“It was extremely disappointing when the defendant chose to deny liability and claim a diesel spillage had caused her to skid and lose control of her car,” said Joanna. “This stance was incredibly frustrating as it meant an application had to be made to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau under the Untraced Driver’s Agreement causing lengthy and unnecessary delays.”

Joanna said the police believed the defendant had been driving without the appropriate care needed to safely negotiate the bend. “This was a dangerously tight corner notorious for accidents,” she said. “There were warning signs clearly visible on the approach to the bend, all of which were apparently ignored by the defendant, who was local to the area and admitted to police in her initial statement that the accident had been her fault and that she had lost control of her car as she rounded the corner.

“This was yet another example of insurers refusing to pay out and consequently putting my client through an ordeal that caused a tremendous amount of strain on his family,” she added. “My client has recently got married. He is slowly starting to work again on a self-employed basis after relearning his skills with the help of his friends in the industry, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

When liability was eventually admitted more than four years after the accident, Joanna settled the claim on behalf of her client for £161,523 in March 2012.

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.