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"They have been absolutely superb. I can’t praise them highly enough, because I wouldn’t be where I am now if it hadn’t been for them."

– Diane, client's wife

'Sarah' - Pedestrian hit by car

Case handler(s): Ben Priestley (Senior Solicitor) assisted by Christopher Lecky (Solicitor)

In this case, our client was walking across the road with her neighbour when hit by a speeding car. Both sustained catastrophic injuries and for our client's neighbour these proved fatal.

Our client was airlifted to a hospital in the North East for emergency treatment and surgery. She sustained multiple injuries, the most serious of which being a diffuse axonal brain injury (a traumatic brain injury), in addition to:

  • Fractured pelvis;
  • Fractured left knee;
  • Fractured left ankle;
  • Fractured left elbow;
  • Stable spinal fractures;
  • Punctured lung.

She was later transferred to a district general hospital to be closer to home, before being discharged to her parents' care after 7 months in hospital.

Our client's parents contacted Serious Law 6 months after the accident, at which time their daughter's claim was being dealt with by another law firm. They wanted to ensure that their daughter's case was being handled by a specialist serious injury legal practice.

Our client's family recognised our vast experience of dealing with very serious injuries. The complex mix of liability and quantum issues required a firm with a long-standing reputation in dealing with traumatic brain injury cases and with robust working relationships with the necessary range of experts to address the myriad of legal and rehabilitation issues.

Our team were able to quickly collate and analyse all the relevant issues, retain a senior Leading Barrister to join the legal team and personally visit with our client and her family at their home. That level of service and client contact was maintained throughout the case.

Key elements of our client's case

As is often the case it was initially difficult for our client and her family to appreciate the permanent nature of the injuries sustained. This therefore required consistent, compassionate reinforcement of the implications of our client's brain injury, explained through the appropriate experts and therapists.

Our client's personality change and lack of insight into her deficits made it difficult to retain support workers. Careful selection of the team members and client-specific training had to be implemented to ensure that the team remained stable and able to support the client.

We were involved in extensive liability investigations and an ongoing dispute between the parties over the extent of contributory negligence, if any.

We encouraged and achieved collaboration with the Defendant's representatives which resulted in several 'road-mapping meetings' taking place with their appointed Solicitors and their Insurer clients, to agree a timetable for the case. As we always maintained full communication with the Defendant representatives on the issues and challenges being faced by our client, they were willing to release substantial interim payments (over £700,000) before the final settlement of the case.

Where our specialist serious injury experience really added value to our client's situation

Being able to secure substantial interim payment, to buy a property in our client's locality and in close proximity to her immediate family really made a difference to our client's, and her parents', quality of life despite the ongoing challenges they all faced.

The property was extensively adapted under the guidance of carefully selected specialist architects / project managers, to meet our client's needs. We sought specialist advice from relevant therapists to advise upon how the property could be configured to meet our client's needs.

We provided significant support to our client's family with the practicalities of the litigation. We worked hard to ensure that our client was adequately supported at all meetings and assessments.

We managed changes in Case Management which were beyond our client's control, to ensure a smooth transition and no loss of momentum in rehabilitation goals.

We manged changes in our client's willingness to engage in her rehabilitation programme which fluctuated in line with her father suffering a very serious health condition. We ensured that therapeutic and clinical input (occupational therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and neuropsychiatry) was carefully managed to avoid the risk of complete disengagement and maintained the much-needed intervention.

We facilitated the appointment of a Professional Financial Deputy to manage our client's property and affairs to ensure that the damages were invested and managed securely.

Reaching settlement

Although legal proceedings were commenced, the parties agreed to attend a Joint Settlement Meeting in April 2020. To facilitate that meeting and to give it the best chance of succeeding, the parties agreed to exchange all expert evidence in advance.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 situation, the Joint Settlement Meeting was able to progress by telephone in April 2020 and settlement was reached between the parties providing damages extending to several million pounds that will secure rehabilitation, specialist support and a good quality of life over the long term.

What our client's parents thought of our handling of their daughter's case

"To be honest, when the accident first occurred and our seriously injured daughter was in hospital, getting a lawyer involved was the least of our priorities but after a few weeks we decided we needed help and a junior lawyer from the previous law firm was walking around the wards of the hospital.

Whilst we asked them to act for us/our daughter, we didn't feel confident with them as we felt like we had to push them all the time to do things when we should have been concentrating on caring for our seriously injured daughter.

Serious Law were recommended to us by someone we knew, and we decided to get in contact with them.

From the outset, Ben Priestley gave us so much confidence that he knew what he was doing and could really help us.

We wish that Ben had been involved from the outset as he would have been able to ensure that our daughter was placed in the right care for her situation. Before we got in touch with Serious Law, our daughter was on an NHS ward which wasn't suitable for her personal situation which Ben addressed straight away. Prior to that, we could see our daughter's condition deteriorating as she needed specialist care.

Ben helped us find a home which was right for our daughter's situation which was really important to us and our daughter.

Overall, we felt 100% better when Ben got involved in our daughter's case as it felt like a weight had been lifted from us as Ben took over the things that we weren't confident in handling.

Ben arranged for a new Case Manager to manage our daughter's rehabilitation and support as the previous Case Manager didn't really tell us what was going on or give advice.

Ben was in regular contact with us and always told us what he had done and what he needed to do which meant we could focus our attention on our daughter as we didn't have to worry.

We had every confidence that what was needed to be done was being done.

Ben always gave his advice in plain English, even on complicated legal things, and if we were unsure of something he would explain things really clearly.

He was responsive to phone calls, e-mails and correspondence and was always on the end of the phone when we needed him.

As things have moved along with our daughter's case, Tim Walters and his assistant Johanna have become involved from a Court of Protection perspective. This has taken a massive worry away from us in terms of handling our daughter's finances, care etc. We found this could be quite complicated but Tim and Johanna have taken charge and made things so much easier for us.

We would say that anybody we have come into contact with at Serious Law has been excellent.

If we were to give Serious Law a mark out of the 10, we could give them a 10.5. We could not fault them in any way".