‘Matthew’ – Motorcycle accident

Case handler: Gillian Lakes (Senior Solicitor)

In this case, our client’s motorcycle was struck head on by the Defendant’s vehicle. He was knocked from his motorcycle sustaining significant personal injury, including:

  • Multiple ligament and soft tissue injuries along with fractures to the left leg;
  • A head injury resulting in traumatic brain injury;
  • Severe psychological trauma.

Key elements of our client’s case

Our client was aged 28 at the time of the accident. He received emergency treatment at the scene before being taken to Hospital. Radiology was undertaken which revealed multiple ligament damage to the left leg and bone injury. He remained in hospital for a period of approximately 82 days during which he underwent ligament reconstruction to the left knee with skin grafting. On discharge he was unable to mobilise and was provided with a brace on his knee for stability. He received ongoing care and treatment including rehabilitation physiotherapy. He continued to suffer from significant symptoms affecting the knee along with nerve damage resulting in foot drop of the left lower limb.

Nine months after his accident, our client underwent an operation in an attempt to repair the nerve damage affecting the left lower limb where his orthopaedic injuries affecting his knee were considerable.

Despite repeated attempts to treat his knee, our client required surgery in the form of a knee replacement which was undertaken 18 months post accident. Notwithstanding the procedure, he was left with ongoing symptoms and ligamentous laxity (loose ligaments) of the left knee. The medical evidence suggested that he would continue to experience significant symptoms affecting the knee. The knee replacement would also only last for a period of 10-15 years following which multiple revisions would be required as our client aged. It was not expected that he would be able to undergo any more than 2 subsequent revisions and would experience considerable further reduction in mobility from his mid-40s. The soft tissue injuries to the knee resulted in significant damage. The effect of this resulted in increased risks of our client developing further complications with a small risk of an above knee amputation.

Our client’s foot drop resulted in clawing of the toes. He was referred for treatment to a Foot & Ankle Specialist and underwent surgery to the left foot in the form of corrective surgery. Unfortunately, despite his treatment, he continued with difficulties with mobility. Our client regularly stubbed the lesser toes whilst walking. The medico-legal evidence suggested that he would continue to experience problems with the left foot permanently causing persisting problems in the future. The combined effect of the knee and foot injury caused our client considerable disability and prevented him from undertaking any form of manual occupation or roles which involve walking, standing, climbing, etc.

Our client continued to experience chronic pain affecting the left knee and foot. He was forced to stop analgesic medication as it had become ineffective. In addition, the medication resulted in gastrointestinal problems which were under investigation. He was therefore forced to suffer the effects of pain with the occasional use of Lansoprazole when the pain became unbearable. The symptoms were worse on weight bearing when he experienced aching, burning and throbbing. The symptoms compromised all domains of his daily life, including sleep, personal care, domestic tasks, home maintenance, etc. It was not expected that he would make any form of recovery from the chronic pain he suffered in the limb.

As a result of his accident, our client also sustained a head injury. He suffered a period of reduced consciousness and post traumatic amnesia. The medical evidence suggested that the head injury would be classified as ‘mild’. He was left with a number of ongoing cognitive symptoms including deficits in memory, processing speed and executive function. There was also some mild vision problems. The ongoing cognitive symptoms would continue and were likely to be affected by ongoing chronic pain.

Our client experienced gastro-intestinal symptoms since the accident with symptoms including profuse sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea and stabbing pains in the abdomen. The medical evidence suggested that as a result of his injuries our client developed cyclical vomiting syndrome.

At the time of the accident our client was employed as a trainee Civil Engineer. He secured the contract/position only two months prior to his accident and was intending to complete training (initially) to NVQ Level 2 and then beyond. It was his ambition to work in the construction industry, possibly as a qualified Civil Engineer. Due to his injuries, our client was no longer able to return to his pre-accident employment, nor anything similar in nature.

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

As serious injury specialists with a team of very experienced qualified solicitors, we know how to help a client with severe injuries navigate the litigation process even when sometimes, as in this case, the Defendant Insurers attempted several times to entice our client to accept compensation which significantly undervalued their case.

Due to complex nature of our client’s injuries, medico-legal evidence was obtained from a range of medical experts in orthopaedic and psychological injury in order to demonstrate this point to the Defendant Insurer.

Pulling together the evidence to prove the level of our client’s ongoing restricted lifestyle caused by his injuries was a vital process to ensure that he was compensated appropriately for his injuries and the impact these would have on his life after settlement of his claim occurred.

Why Serious Injury Law was one of a select handful of firms uniquely able to handle the matter

Our client’s case was initially dealt with by a previous firm of solicitors who secured an early admission of liability together with rehabilitation. Early offers to settle the claim were made by the Defendants which were significantly less than the final award.

Serious Injury Law’s Gillian Lakes took over conduct of the case and thereafter arranged for a further large interim payment to enable our client to move into single storey accommodation which was suitable for his needs, prior to the knee replacement described above.

As a result of our client refusing to attend a joint settlement meeting because his recovery was far from complete, requested by the Defendant Insurer, they withdrew funding for our client’s rehabilitation.

This action by the Defendant Insurer required urgent action and Gillian issued legal proceedings on our client’s behalf to enable an application to be made for a further interim payment which was successful enabling our client to continue his treatment and ultimately to improve his condition.

Reaching settlement

Around three and a half years post accident, the Defendant’s made an offer to settle our client’s claim for several hundred thousand pounds which we advised him to reject as the offer was too low based on the evidence in our possession. He accepted our advice and rejected the offer.

Once in receipt of further medical and quantum evidence, the parties attended a Joint Settlement Meeting where our client’s claim was settled for a seven figure sum.

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