The claimant, a 34-year-old man, received £3,000,000 for the injuries he suffered due to a road traffic accident in September 2015. He sustained a degloving injury to the foot, developed an infection and had to undergo a below-knee amputation, suffered neurological symptoms in the right upper limb and developed severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
On 2 September 2015 the claimant was driving his motor scooter into a busy traffic-light-controlled junction when it was hit on the offside by a car driven by the defendant (D). The man was thrown into the air and landed on the pavement between three and four metres away.
He was taken by paramedics to hospital where the wound was debrided and the fractures were fixed, including by inserting k-wires, open reduction with internal fixation and external fixation. A skin graft was taken from his right thigh but failed. On 28 September he was discharged to return home. However, he developed an infection and so, on 23 October 2015, he underwent a trans-tibial amputation.
On 6 November 2015 he developed a pulmonary embolism and was administered anti-coagulation medication. He underwent a course of physiotherapy and was fitted with a basic NHS prosthetic leg. He subsequently attended various private clinics in an attempt to find a suitable prosthesis. Even after finding a prosthesis he experienced difficulties with it due to factors including poorly fitting sockets, abscesses, phantom limb pain and residual limb pain.
He also suffered neurological symptoms in the right upper limb. He initially experienced numbness and pins and needles in the right hand which were attributed to ulnar nerve irritation. The symptoms persisted and, at the date of settlement, also affected the right elbow and shoulder. However, he focussed his attention on treating and rehabilitation in relation to the lower limb instead.
Before the accident the man had worked as a security guard and, for approximately two-and-a-half years before the accident, he had been studying to become a black cab driver. He was due to sit that exam in October 2015. He had also obtained a job painting and maintaining street furniture which he had been due to start five days after the accident.
C had previously been healthy. He had enjoyed a wide range of physical activities including playing golf and football, swimming and fishing with his stepson. Approximately seven years before the accident he had suffered a dislocation of the right patella which was treated conservatively using physiotherapy. From that injury he had suffered some bilateral knee pain but no significant medical problems and he had not required regular medication.
By the date of settlement the man had purchased a prosthesis, fitted with an Otto Bock EmPower micro-processor-controlled foot) that provided him with greater comfort and mobility, although he continued to experience pain in the leg. He had resumed swimming, gym-based exercise and golf, using a buggy, but none of his other former hobbies and activities. He resumed driving using an adapted car. He had not returned to any form of employment at the time of settlement.
The injuries caused the man to suffer a significant loss of independence and he required a substantial level of care from his partner and his father. Using the prosthetic leg he was able to mobilise up to 200 yards without support and up to approximately three-quarters of a mile using crutches. He required a wheelchair for longer distances and experienced difficulty using stairs. His abnormal gait caused him pain in the lower back and hip which affected his mobility.
After the accident he developed severe post-traumatic stress disorder including symptoms of intrusive thoughts of the accident, nightmares, avoidance, feelings of guilt, isolation, anger, irritability, hyper-vigilance, poor concentration, interrupted and non-restorative sleep, labile mood and limited interest. The symptoms caused an increase in his perception of pain and his social and occupational function was severely impaired. He underwent treatment including cognitive behavioural therapy and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing treatment but they only resulted in some minimal improvement. At the date of settlement the man continued to present with severe PTSD.
The man’s abnormal gait was likely to cause musco-skeletal symptoms in the knees, hips and back by the time he was aged between 60 and 65. That would limit his outdoor walking and physical activities. There was likely to be a gradual regression of his mobility and increased dependence on a wheelchair for outdoor mobility. He would be able to use prostheses to mobilise indoors for the rest of his life. It was anticipated that until between age 60 and 65 C would be able to walk over 50m without aids except in adverse terrain or weather (SIGAM grade E/F); from age 60 until 65 there was likely to be a regression of mobility to walking over 50m on level ground in good weather with aids (grade D), with an increased reliance on a wheelchair; from age 75 he was likely to regress to being able to walk up to 50m on even ground with or without aids (grade C).
The man was not expected to return to full time employment, any employment he could have undertaken would have been therapeutic earnings probably on a part-time basis of less than 16 hours per week.
The neurological symptoms affecting the man’s right upper limb, elbow and shoulder were likely to persist and might become worse with increased use of the upper limb.
The man instructed a specialist personal injury to pursue a claim for compensation. It was alleged that D was negligent in failing to drive with adequate care.
Liability for the accident was admitted as D was convicted for careless driving. However, D argued that there was contributory negligence by the man on the basis that he should have taken more care when entering the junction and should have travelled slower when entering the junction, which would have given the man the opportunity to avoid the collision. However, the court found that the man was blameless and that his injuries were solely caused as a result of D's negligent driving.
An out of Court settlement was agreed in the sum of £3,000,000.
“Claims for personal injury are very complex and input from specialist solicitors is required to ensure that the Claimant receives the compensation that they deserve. If you, or anyone you know, has suffered injuries as a result of an accident that was not your fault, contact Biscoes Solicitors for a free consultation and advice. We are able to pursue claims on a no win no fee basis.”
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