Teen whose personality changed after being hit by car receives £500,000

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Teen whose personality changed after being hit by car receives £500,000

22nd January 2013

A young man has finally received £500,000 in compensation, more than six years after he was left with a catalogue of injuries after he was hit by three cars as a teenager.

As well as being physically injured in the incident, the victim – who was just 16 at the time – sustained a serious head injury which has essentially changed his personality, causing him and his family considerable distress.

Martin James, a serious injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that his client’s ordeal began as he crossed a road in the middle of the afternoon in the summer of 2006. “He and his friends had just gotten off a bus and were on their way home,” said Martin, a partner with the firm. “As the young man made his way across the road to buy a drink from a newsagent, he was hit by a car being driven by the defendant.

“The impact threw him several feet through the air. As he fell he was clipped by a second car before landing in the path of a third vehicle which was unable to avoid colliding with him. One of his friends immediately ran to the nearby doctor’s surgery to ask for help, and the other went to the nearby fire station to say there was an emergency.”

An ambulance arrived soon after, and the injured boy was rushed to hospital where he received treatment for injuries including abrasions to his chest, a fracture to his wrist and most importantly a serious head injury.

“It was immediately apparent that the injuries he sustained in the incident were serious,” said Martin, “and as with most head injury cases we had to wait to see how he recovered before issuing formal proceedings. A brain injury can take a very long time to manifest after the initial trauma, and unfortunately in this case one of the most serious lasting symptoms has been a change in the victim’s personality.”

Martin said the before the incident, the teenager had been a typically laid-back, friendly and good-natured youngster. But as he slowly recovered from his physical injuries, it became clear that he had also undergone a change.

“His family and friends all noticed this change almost immediately, which is an all-too-common side-effect of such a traumatic head injury,” he said. “From being a happy-go-lucky teenager, he has now become a tense, depressed and sometimes aggressive young man. He has problems with his memory, and to his family’s great distress he even fell in with a wrong crowd.”

Martin said that once he and the team of lawyers at Fentons began investigating the victim’s claim, it became obvious that there were further problems for them to deal with.

“As we waited for the victim to recover enough for doctors to give a long-term prognosis, we began trying to piece together what had happened through witness evidence,” he said. “It was very difficult for us to establish liability for the incident, as several of the witness statements contradicted one another.

“The young boy’s friends and the driver who initially hit my client gave very different versions of events, and it was proving very difficult to establish exactly what happened. Luckily, an independent witness gave us a full account of what they saw, which enabled us to issue proceedings against the driver’s insurer.”

The independent witness had said that he had seen the incident unfold almost in its entirety, beginning with the three young men getting off the bus. “The witness told us that he had seen my client begin crossing the road, and instinctively looked in his mirrors. He saw the defendant approaching and was concerned at the speed of the car, particularly as he had seen the teenaged boy begin crossing the road.”

Martin explained that the witness even said that he had seen that the driver was not looking straight ahead but behind her, over her shoulder and apparently talking to a child in the rear of the car.

“We understood that at best the defendant driver only had a short period of time in which to take any avoiding action, but we contested that time was reduced further by their apparent lack of attention,” he said.

Following lengthy negotiation and discussion, the issue of liability was due to be settled by a judge following a three-day trial at the beginning of 2013. “But on the morning of the first day of trial, the defendant insurers offered to settle my client’s case in full,” he said.

“After an ordeal which has lasted more than six years, we secured £500,000 for my client and his family, which will hopefully enable them to obtain the help and assistance that they need, both now and in the future, to ensure the best level of medical assistance care as they now begin to move on with their lives.

“This was an extremely difficult case, and I’m just delighted that we were able to bring it to such a positive conclusion,” said Martin.

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.