Case handler: Richard Crabtree (Senior Solicitor) assisted by Rebecca Hilton (Solicitor) and Donna Green (Legal Assistant)

In this case our client was involved in a road traffic accident when her vehicle was collided with turning right at traffic lights.

Key elements of our client’s case

Our client sustained serious injuries as a result of her accident as follows:

  • Tearing of large blood vessel branching off the heart and a collapsed lung;
  • Haemothorax (an accumulation of blood within the chest cavity);
  • Fractured pelvis;
  • Fractured collar bone;
  • Seven fractured ribs;
  • Fractured right glenoid (the ball joint that holds the upper arm and shoulder blade in place);
  • A spinal fracture;
  • Traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding of the brain);
  • Traumatic brain injury.

Our client was initially treated in a Major Trauma Unit where she underwent emergency surgery to repair the torn blood vessel. All her fractures were stabilised to help the healing process. She spent three weeks in a medically induced coma, but when she regained consciousness she was unable to move her left arm and leg. At this point the bleeding on the brain was diagnosed. She subsequently regained function of her left arm and left leg in subsequent weeks after a short course of inpatient physiotherapy and was discharged fully weightbearing with a walking stick just short of four months post accident.

We sent a Letter of Claim to the other party’s insurer (Defendant Insurer) who confirmed that the accident had been reported to them as a no fault accident and alleged that our client’s vehicle collided with their insured.

We attended the accident scene and made observations on the sequence of the traffic lights in addition to seeking CCTV images from a nearby public house and obtaining independent witness statements.

We also applied for a copy of the Police Report who confirmed that that they were still investigating the accident and were also looking into the traffic light sequence to determine if the Defendant ran a red light.

We obtained an early brief report on the rehabilitation needs of our client and sent this to the Defendant Insurer asking them to fund the recommended treatment.

The Defendant Insurer agreed to the instruction of an independent rehabilitation company to prepare a detailed rehabilitation needs report on a joint basis which led to them funding recommended treatment which included input in terms of speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and psychological treatment.

The Defendant was subsequently charged by the Police with causing serious injury by reckless driving and was convicted of motoring offences on his own guilty plea. The Defendant was heavily criticised by the Judge at the Criminal sentencing hearing and received a significant custodial sentence.

A modest five figure interim payment was then secured for our client from the Defendant Insurer who then admitted liability for the accident but alleged our client had contributed to the accident by turning across their policyholder’s path suggesting that a reasonably prudent driver would check for oncoming traffic before turning right across a lane of traffic, and had our client taken the necessary care, she would have seen their insured proceeding along the road and noted that there was insufficient time or space to make her turn safely. Based upon this view, they put forward an offer to settle our client’s claim on a two-thirds, one-third basis in her favour.

As we had not yet received the Police Report, we advised the Defendant Insurer that their liability offer could not be assessed.

Having obtained and considered our client’s medical records, we instructed an Upper Limb Surgeon, Neurologist and Cardiologist to prepare reports on our client’s injuries.

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

A conditional offer was then received from the Defendant Insurer for a modest six figure sum, however, we advised them, after discussions with our client and a barrister, that their offer was rejected having initially advised them that we were unable to properly consider it without any medical evidence to hand.

We then prepared and sent instructions to an Orthopaedic Surgeon to prepare a report on our client’s injuries which confirmed that movement in our client’s right shoulder had returned but movement in the would remain permanently diminished. He also confirmed that the strength on the left was not as good as previously and that this situation would be permanent.

Reaching settlement

After disclosing the medical evidence and a schedule of our client’s losses, a Joint Settlement Meeting was arranged where a significantly increased six figure sum settlement was agreed.