Fernandez, a Spanish citizen living in England, sustained traumatic amputation of both of his hands whilst using a mechanical guillotine in the course of his employment. Within less than a year of taking over the case, Scott Rigby, Partner, has achieved a negotiated settlement for his client, to enable him to continue his life in Spain, where he returned after his treatment.
At the time of the accident, Fernandez was working in a metal processing factory. He had been living in the UK for about a year, after having previously been a lorry driver in Spain.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
Following the accident, Fernandez had both hands surgically reattached and then underwent more that 40 further surgical procedures, under general anaesthetic, on his hands and forearms. Despite this he has not regained any function in his right, dominant hand, which remains completely insensate. He has regained less than 50% of function in his left hand. In addition to these physical disabilities Fernandez continues to have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as a significant mood disorder and personality change.
Initially, Fernandez instructed a firm of solicitors based locally to where he was living in England at the time of his accident. However, he became dissatisfied with their service and so decided to instruct Scott.
Since receiving instructions, Scott has worked with counsel, Nathan Tavares QC of Outer Temple Chambers, in order to obtain witness statements and expert reports to fully document the physical and financial losses his client has experienced already and his future requirements for carer assistance, accessible accommodation, specialist therapeutic support, aids and equipment, including an adapted vehicle, and the additional costs of future holidays and trips to watch his favourite football team play away matches.
Scott also secured interim payments for his client so that Fernandez could maintain his rehabilitation programme and pay for his carers while the claim continued.
The settlement reached will see Fernandez receive a lump sum payment which will enable him to purchase, amongst other items, a property which will be suitable for his long-term needs.
Fernandez will also receive a payment each year (a “periodical payment”) so that he can afford to pay for his carers for the rest of his life.
As Fernandez now lives in Spain, it is important that this annual payment is linked to a suitable Spanish inflation index to ensure that each year it accurately reflects the increases in pay received by carers working in Spain. It was therefore necessary to obtain specialist expert evidence to analyse the various options and to select the most appropriate index. High Court approval of the settlement, to ensure that the annual payments will be made in the future regardless of what happens to the Defendant’s insurers, has been obtained.
Life Beyond Injury
At his home in Spain, Fernandez is supported by carers who attend on a daily basis, and often overnight, and assist him with activities of daily living, such as preparing his meals, cleaning and shopping. They also accompany him to football matches as he is an avid follower of Real Ovideo, his local team.
Scott Rigby of Stewarts, who represented Fernandez, said:
“Fernandez has sustained terrible injuries which will change his life forever in so many ways. I am therefore very pleased to have achieved this settlement so quickly after being instructed. It will ensure that Fernandez will be financially secure for the rest of his life and will be able to afford to pay for the support, aids and equipment he will need to be able to enjoy the best possible quality of life”.
“My experience with Stewarts was very positive. I was impressed with the high level of professionalism, especially compared with my experiences dealing with my previous law firm. They had wasted a lot of time and promised me things that were not realistic, leaving me in a precarious position. However, I felt supported with Stewarts by my side.
“My lawyer, Scott, is very personable and caring. He was very supportive, guiding me through the legal proceedings and spending plenty of time to explain details and next steps. I always felt reassured by the fact that I had the best legal advice available for my situation. Scott is sincere and trustworthy, he is very human, responsive and warm.
“I was particularly impressed with how efficient Stewarts were. The team was always on hand to answer questions, very responsive to queries, which I very much appreciated after being kept in the dark by my previous lawyers.
“I have now been able to return to driving, and that is essential for me. It’s helped me feel self-sufficient and positive about life experiences again. It gives me back my freedom, I can visit my family and I am able to follow my football team, Real Oviedo, again when they play around Spain. This gives me joy, I’m a big football fan.
“The settlement helped me enormously – I was able to buy an adapted car and I was also able to move house. I now live in a small but very cozy house, with some outside space. It’s very close to a short walking route so I can also exercise. I was suffocating in the flat I had been living in previously, it was very unsuitable for my condition and I felt trapped.
“Since I now feel financially stable, I have started to provide monthly donations to an NGO – Save the Children. That makes me feel good, I feel useful. I’d like to do more with charities and I’m looking into other ways to help.
“A huge difference, it gave me security, a decent accommodation and has restored some normality and enthusiasm for daily activities such as football and seeing the family.”
Life beyond injury
We have teamed up with other clients who have 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 International Injury pages.
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