Seven Figure Sum Awarded to Brain Injured Man
I acted on behalf of a man in his early 20’s who sustained a serious brain injury when he was hit by a car. Before the accident he was looking forward to a career in engineering but any chance of that was taken away by the severity of the injuries.
On a warm summer’s evening, as he was returning home from a snooker match, he was struck traffic lights. The pedestrian was visible for some considerable distance but the driver failed to anticipate my client’s actions as he crossed close to traffic signals.
The impact caused the pedestrian to be thrown up onto the bonnet of the car, causing damage to the windscreen. Emergency services responded and my client was cared for in the local Accident & Emergency Hospital. He remained in an intensive ward for some weeks, before being transferred to a hospital with specialist rehabilitation services. Here he remained for many months, slowly responding to the multi-disciplined rehabilitation services. Eventually, he was discharged home, but still considerably short of a full recovery.
The symptoms left this university educated man bereft of the skills to make a claim and thus his family acted on his behalf. The driver maintained his innocence and denied any entitlement to compensation, encouraged by the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to take criminal action against the driver for either careless or dangerous driving.
The insurers standing behind the driver reiterated the denial of responsibility and would not make any concessions. Therefore, it was necessary to commence legal proceedings against the driver. Despite commencing legal action, no proposals were made by the insurers and thus the court ordered a trial to proceed.
The trial to determine responsibility for the accident lasted several days, with expert reconstruction evidence being called by both sides, to assist the court in determining responsibility. During the trial pressure was applied by the insurers to my client’s family, as they made a token offer, to tempt my client, knowing the family could receive nothing if they lost at trial. However, the family stood their ground, resisting a few hundred thousand pounds.
The outcome of the trial was a good one for the pedestrian and his family. The High Court judge decided the driver could and should have taken action to avoid this young man as he returned home from an evening out. The driver, through his insurers, were ordered to pay compensation, for the severe brain injury and the losses and expenses caused by the poor driving. Such expenses would continue for life.
After the trial to determine responsibility, the insurers provided some interim compensation, to fund private rehabilitation. A brain injury case manager and carers were appointed to support this young man in his London home. It was clear that his house was not adequate to meet all his needs, as his mobility was significantly restricted. Therefore, evidence was obtained to support the purchase of a new home. His family also claimed his lost earnings, for all his working life, (as he would never be able to gain employment), private nursing care costs and equipment, including a car, to meet his life-long requirements.
As he was, and would always remain, incapable of managing his own affairs, a Deputy was appointed to manage his finances and organise his day to day needs. The appointment of a Deputy by the Court of Protection would continue.
As a result of the compensation, both the interim sums paid and the final compensation, which ran to millions, rehabilitation was put in place, to improve this young’s functioning and life skills. Despite being without access to funds, to purchase private rehabilitation, for a several years, once funds did become available (after the trial) and brain injury case management was deployed, the improvement was immediate. The young man continued to make progress and was able to engage more actively with others. That improvement continued well after the claim was resolved, so that he was more involved in aspects of daily life, including foreign holidays. Indeed, it was remarkable to see the significant changes in his symptoms a year after the claim was resolved.
A full recovery from brain injury cannot be guaranteed but with sufficient funds to purchase private rehabilitation services, tremendous improvements can be seen, which benefit the victim and those closest, as they support their loved one. In this case, the mother was concerned about what would happen to her son after she was no longer able to care for him. With this settlement and the investment of the compensation monies, she had greater confidence that there would be sufficient funds to care and support her son, so that he would not have to rely on the state system after her demise.