A single young man was struck by a driver as he crossed at a junction. The accident occurred late one summer evening. There were a lot of people in the vicinity as the man crossed the road, but an oncoming driver did not notice him, or take sufficient notice of him crossing the road, despite the presence of a junction and traffic lights. The consequence was that this young man was struck by the car, thrown on to the bonnet and up onto the windscreen, before being deposited on the road.
The emergency services were called and he was transferred to hospital. He remained an inpatient for many weeks, before being transferred to a specialist neurorehabilitation unit. Here he remained for many months, making slow progress towards what would be an incomplete recovery from a serious brain injury.
A claim was launched against the driver, but he denied all responsibility, arguing the pedestrian walked straight into his path and that nothing could be done to avoid the man as he crossed the road. No concessions were made by the driver and it was necessary to commence legal action against him.
The young man’s claim was made difficult by his own loss of memory and lack of eyewitnesses on the evening of the accident. However, an accident reconstruction expert was instructed to visit the scene and to produce a report. That report was able to take account of the detailed police investigation. On the forensic evidence that was available, the reconstruction expert was able to calculate the speed of movement of the car, based on damage to the car, the point of impact and the final resting place of the young man, in the road. The reconstruction expert was also able to take account of debris on the road. The expert concluded that the driver was driving too fast for the conditions and that had he been driving at a speed enabling him to take account of pedestrians, who may cross, the collision would have been avoided.
The driver also obtained a report from a reconstruction expert, who supported his version of events, ie the collision could not be avoided.
As a consequence of the lack of consensus the case proceeded to trial in the High Court, with the trial lasting several days. Having heard all the evidence, the judge concluded the driver had been driving too fast for the conditions and therefore was responsible for the serious brain injuries sustained to the young man.
Following judgement against the driver, his insurers made an immediate substantial interim payment of compensation. That money was put to work, by commencing rehabilitation therapies and other support, for his benefit and that of his family. The rehabilitation continued over a long period of time, well beyond the lifetime of the compensation claim.
To assess the young man’s needs and his long-term care requirements, including accommodation, various medical consultants were instructed to provided reports. A report was also commissioned from an architect and care expert, to ensure all the claimant’s potential needs were taken into account before negotiations were commenced with the driver’s insurers to settle the claim. During this time, our client benefited from occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and support workers, all of which was funded by further interim payments of compensation. Support workers came into the home, to provide support to the family, sharing the responsibilities of 24 hours care.
Unfortunately, our client was not able to care for himself, including management of his financial affairs and therefore the Court of Protection appointed a Deputy to manage his affairs, for the rest of his life. A multi 7 figure sum was agreed with the driver’s insurers to meet this man’s lifelong needs.
Before the final settlement figure was agreed, expert evidence was obtained to ascertain if the best form of settlement for the client would be by way of a lump sum. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to accept a cheque for the entirety of the compensation. An alternative is to take part of the compensation as a lump sum, often to purchase a new house and make adaptations to the house, with the balance of the settlement taken as annual payments, for the rest of the individual’s life. There are a number of advantages to taking annual payments of compensation. Two of these are that the annual payments will increase in line with inflation and, secondly, they will continue for as long as the person lives, so there is less risk of the money running out, which can happen with lump sum cases, where a guess has to be made about a person’s life expectancy.
If you would like to enquire about making a head or brain injury claim following a car accident, fall, sporting injury or other incident, please contact one of our experienced brain injury solicitors on 0333 123 9099. Alternatively, please firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form and one of our team will be able to help you.