Andre incurred life-changing injuries after a road traffic accident in 2017. Significant interim payments were secured throughout the claim. Having overcome the accident’s severe physical and psychological consequences, Andre has admirably reclaimed his life and independence.
In November 2017, Andre was involved in a collision with a black cab. After finishing work, Andre was walking on the pavement when an out-of-control cab mounted the pavement, knocked him over, and trapped him between the vehicle and a lamppost. Two other pedestrians were also injured. The event was so traumatic that initially, it was investigated as a terrorist attack. The driver was found guilty of careless driving and received a two-year disqualification from driving and a fine.
As a result of the collision, Andre sustained severe lower limb injuries. These included an open femoral fracture and severe soft tissue injuries to his left leg, together with other de-gloving injuries to his right leg, which required skin grafting. Andre was treated at the scene by the helicopter emergency medical service. He was later admitted to the Royal London Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. The injury to his left leg was so severe that he had to undergo a high above-knee amputation.
Once Andre woke up in the intensive care unit, the news of the amputation found him in a state of shock and disbelief. Undoubtedly, the psychological trauma of the accident was immense. Andre had a full recollection of the collision, its immediate aftermath, and the fear of death associated with it.
Instruction of Stewarts
Andre instructed partner Stephanie Clarke in December 2017 to initiate his claim against the taxi driver.
Initially, the defendants denied liability for the collision, despite the driver’s conviction in the Magistrates Court and the various interim payments made. Court proceedings were, therefore, commenced against the taxi driver on 11 December 2020.
Treatment and rehabilitation
After his discharge from hospital, Andre spent a little bit over a month at the Lambeth Amputation Rehabilitation Unit. While at the unit, he was fitted for a standard wheelchair and his first prosthesis, which were provided by the NHS. Andre was dealing with daily phantom pain in his left leg, as well as having intense flashbacks and nightmares of the collision. Despite the significant physiotherapy and training, Andre found the wheelchair heavy and difficult to manage and did not feel confident wearing his prosthesis; he experienced imbalance, discomfort and pain.
Andre’s challenges continued, even after his return home. The house, which he was then sharing with his family, was not suitable, making it almost impossible for him to move around independently.
With the interim payments, Andre was supported by a specialist case manager, Scott Hodder, to access intense physiotherapy and work with a personal trainer. Most importantly, he was able to privately pay for a new Genium prosthetic and a new socket, which was more comfortable, lighter and more compact. By September 2018, he had moved into his own flat and started driving his new car. In October 2020, Andre underwent targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) surgery, a surgery to reduce neuropathic pain (which is not always successful), as well as regenerative peripheral nerve interface (RPNI) surgery. Fortunately, both helped alleviate the pain he was experiencing.
Andre received significant support from a clinical psychologist, who helped him process the effects of the accident. The psychological impact of his injuries was also addressed through occupational therapy and ‘behavioural activation’.
In August 2021, the claim was settled for a significant sum, which allows Andre to access lifelong provision for prosthetics, bespoke equipment, medical treatment and therapies, as well as providing financial security.
Life beyond injury
As a deep thinker and a quiet and sensitive young man, Andre needed a lot of encouragement to fulfil his potential. With the support of Stephanie and his support team, Andre has worked extremely hard to maximise his independence.
Earlier this year, Andre interviewed for a volunteer position with Amputation Foundation UK. Andre has been working with the charity by assisting with their website and online content. He has recently been developing his skills as a peer mentor with the charity; he has been using his story to motivate and empower others to resume their lives and make the most of every new opportunity in the future. This position has equipped Andre with more confidence for the future.
His rehabilitation assistant has an instrumental role in Andre’s life after his injury. Andre now feels comfortable leaving his house, socialising and enjoying the company of others, for example, with trips to Boxpark to watch the Euros. Furthermore, Andre has set a goal to focus on his health and maintain an active and balanced lifestyle. He has even started taking skating lessons with a coach.
This year, Andre was also able to accomplish his goal of going on holiday by himself. Not only did he enjoy his time there, but he also did a flying experience – one of the many exciting activities to come. His progress is commendable. In 2018, Andre was finding it difficult to even walk with his prosthetic. Now, not only can Andre walk while wearing his prosthetic, but he can fly!
Andre’s progress, both while the claim was ongoing and after its settlement, has been admirable. He went through a long journey to come to terms with this new reality, but he has come out the other side stronger than before. Andre has taken tremendous steps towards reclaiming his life and independence. He has recently made an offer on a new bungalow, and he is also planning an exciting holiday to Barbados to visit his family. After the accident, Andre had to relearn how to live. Not only did he succeed, but he has been thriving and living life to the fullest by seizing every opportunity that comes his way.
Andre has been actively posting on his YouTube channel. He has been sharing his experience to spread awareness and inspire other amputees to retake control of their lives and not let their injuries define them. In all his videos, Andre has been very open. He has not hesitated to share his physical and mental struggles, from vividly describing the collision to his first moments waking up at the hospital feeling alone, questioning why he was still alive and the unbearable pain that did not let him sleep.
Andre has also talked in-depth about dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and body-image issues and how to overcome them. He has encouraged people in the same situation not to be afraid to talk to someone and share their feelings, find a hobby that fulfils them, and love themselves. He has also been sharing useful advice, for example, how acupuncture can assist with phantom limb pain.
Andre’s channel is truly inspirational. In Andre’s words: “To anybody out there who is going through the same thing that I am going through, just know that this is not the end-life is not over. This does not have to define you. You are not less of a man or less of a woman. When you look in the mirror, you are still beautiful. When you are out and you are feeling self-conscious that people are looking at you, you are still beautiful. No matter where you are in your journey, you’ve got this. You will be OK.”
“Stewarts’ level of professionalism and legal expertise has been very good. It’s been a whole new world to me, so it’s been great having guidance from Stephanie about what to do and how things work. I have always been able to ask questions, and Stephanie, or the team, are available to explain things to me.
“What I liked in particular about working with Stewarts was moving to a new home and getting my new prosthetic. It was horrible being home as it was small, and I couldn’t use my wheelchair. It was a really difficult six months. The NHS prosthetic was terrible. I got the Genium with the interim payments. It was such a relief to move and get my own space where I could function somewhat normally.
“It’s been a really good experience. I’m not sure I would have been able to get the same support I’ve had from my legal team elsewhere. That’s been the biggest thing.
“The settlement I received has helped me with trying new hobbies – skating, archery, boxing. Boxing helps keep me fit and get out my aggression. I never thought I could do something like that. Skating was trying to reconnect with a younger part of myself, enjoying things I used to do when I was little – trying to find enjoyment out of life.
“I’m very glad I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried new activities. I’ve had some really difficult moments. I felt like my life had stalled and almost stuck in time. When my accident happened, I was 22; it has held me back in time. I was on the up, and the accident cut me right down. Coming to terms with adulthood, it was hard trying to figure out how to get there. I’ve been very grateful for meeting people who know different things from me. It’s given me a broader experience of life.”
Life beyond injury
We have teamed up with other clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries to tell their stories of Life Beyond Injury. Please visit the Life Beyond Injury webpages here.
We hope that by sharing these stories, newly injured people can see that with the right support they too can overcome adversity to lead full and active lives.
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Personal Injury pages.
If you require assistance from our team, please contact us.
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