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Elderly car passenger severely injured in collision with lorry
An elderly passenger who had to be cut from the wreckage of the car she was travelling in after it collided with a lorry has received £33,000 in an out of court settlement.
The West Sussex woman, who is in her 80s, was sat in the front passenger seat and suffered severe soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulders as well as several deep cuts to her face when she was thrown forwards in the collision.
“When the driver of the car was momentarily blinded by the sun, he drove straight into the back of a parked lorry,” said Amy Hillgrove, a specialist road traffic accident lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP. “The force of the impact threw my client into the dashboard and although she has no memory of hitting her head she can remember bouncing back into her seat with blood pouring from her face.”
After fire fighters had to cut away the roof of the car to set the woman free she was taken by ambulance to hospital having suffered a broken left wrist, three broken fingers, two fractured vertebrae, a fractured breastbone and severe whiplash symptoms.
“My client spent a week in hospital and was discharged with her wrist in a cast,” said Amy. “It then took over six weeks - during which time she was looked after at home by her family - for the extensive bruising to her face to heal. When she returned to hospital to have her cast removed two months later, her hand was still very swollen and bruised, she had very little grip strength and she was unable to close her hand.”
Over the next several months, the woman underwent extensive physiotherapy to try and improve the movement around her wrist and to reduce the amount of pain she was suffering each day in her neck and shoulders. Although her symptoms improved to an extent as a result, her wrist, neck and fingers remained extremely sore and stiff.
“My client has suffered ongoing almost constant pain at the base of her neck ever since her accident,” said Amy. “Turning her head from left to right continues to hurt and she currently can’t even look up or straight ahead without pain. In fact, looking downwards is the only comfortable position she’s able to hold for any length of time.
“Although she rarely leaves her home now she has a carer who comes to see her once a fortnight and she is fortunate to have neighbours who are happy to help with her weekly shopping,” she added. “However, as a result of the accident, she can no longer bend down or lift anything heavy, she has been left with permanent stiffness and discomfort in both her neck and fingers, and her wrist remains so sore that she still cannot close her hand.”
Amy said that her client’s family had believed it was a straightforward matter of claiming insurance for the accident. “The family thought they could deal directly with the matter themselves via the defendant’s insurer,” she said. “But after the insurer obtained a medical report the family decided to come to us as they wanted to find out what level of damages her injuries were actually worth.
“When I reviewed the defendant insurer’s medical report I found it to be extremely biased as it only gave average recovery times rather then times relevant to my client’s particular injuries,” added Amy. “As a result, I promptly arranged an independent examination which very much helped to recover a far higher sum of compensation then my client expected to receive.”
After liability was admitted, Amy settled the claim on behalf of her client for £33,000 in July 2013.
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