Tipper lorry driver who received life-changing injures following a workplace accident agrees settlement at ‘virtual’ meeting that will enable him to live his life to its full potential and buy a suitable home.
Gary was injured in February 2016 during his employment by the defendant as a tipper lorry driver.
His job involved the collection, delivery and transportation of a variety of products. Part of his job was to ensure there was no cross-contamination of loads. To clean his trailer, Gary had parked his vehicle in a layby along which ran 11kV electricity power lines at a height of 7.3 metres. The trailer touched or came into very close proximity with high voltage overhead power lines. As a result, Gary received a severe electrical shock. He received multiple injuries, including burns over 25% of his body surface and an ulnar nerve injury. He also underwent a below-knee amputation. In addition, Gary sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Rehab and recovery
The defendant’s insurer, RSA Insurance, took a collaborative approach to dealing with the claim despite initially denying liability.
During the claim, RSA Insurance funded case management, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, prosthetics, amputee physiotherapy, psychology, occupational therapy, a dietician, a dog walking and professional cleaning under the Rehabilitation Code.
The defendant’s insurer also provided interim payments to fund Gary’s rehabilitation needs, which meant that Gary could move to an accessible property after the liability trial. The property move demonstrated the importance that living in the right environment can make to a claimant’s ability to regain their independence and engage with rehabilitation. It was hugely important in improving the psychological impact the accident had on Gary.
With the input of Kate Meads, an occupational therapist specialising in vocational therapy, Gary explored a return to work. The therapy also enabled him to return to his pre-accident hobby of stock cars, and as part of his rehabilitation he has built two stock cars (with assistance). With the advice of Team Brit, he has incorporated adaptations to a stock car to enable him to return to driving, and he hopes to race his car when racing resumes post Covid.
Gary wanted to explore all avenues open to him for his choice of prosthetics, including microprocessor prosthetics such as the Empower foot. He had put on a significant amount of weight after his accident, and with assistance from a dietician, specialist doctor, personal trainer and physiotherapist, lost more than 30kg. This reduced his BMI and took him below the level for pre-diabetes by the time his claim settled.
Safi Madar of Faye Hammond Consultancy was key in making sure Gary had the best therapists to aid in his rehabilitation, including prosthetic input from PACE.
Legal case and settlement
The preliminary issue of liability was fought fiercely by the defendant, and the case was heard in the High Court from 26 to 29 November 2018. Judgment was passed down in Gary’s favour with a reduction of 25% for contributory negligence.
Once liability was resolved, we could then focus our efforts on calculating quantum. Expert opinion was obtained from experts in orthopaedics (both upper and lower limb), rehabilitation, pain management, psychiatry, neurology, plastic surgery, accommodation, prosthetics, care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, life expectancy and assistive technology. Witness statements were obtained from family members and contacts in Gary’s line of business in respect of his loss of earnings claim and gratuitous care.
The claim was settled in November 2020 before the quantum trial, which had been listed to start at the beginning of February 2021. As a result of the UK being in lockdown due to Covid-19, the case settled at a ‘virtual’ settlement meeting.
A seven-figure settlement was negotiated, which includes sums for prosthetics, accommodation, travel, medical care and therapies. This ensures Gary has the financial security to enable him to live the rest of his life to his full potential and purchase suitable accommodation, which is very important to him. It will also allow him to purchase suitable prosthetics and access medical treatment and therapies that will serve him well as he navigates and considers his next steps in his career and daily life.
Life beyond injury
Gary has been keeping busy working on renovating a stock racing car, which was always a passion of his. This has been a big boost for him, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown and is something he hopes to explore further now that the claim has settled.
Gary says: “Stewarts’ level of expertise was top notch. They were very efficient and always put me first when getting me the help and rehabilitation I need. Nichola Fosler was so professional and very caring. She was a joy to work to with, to be honest.
“With the right people on board and a good level of belief in myself, I’ve been able to get back into stock cars. It was a hobby of mine from about 27 years ago and it’s been good to get that adrenaline kick back. It’s all been possible with the right amount of support, encouragement and belief.
“The settlement money has just taken the financial stress out of everything. I’ve been able to purchase a property and will be able to live comfortably now. I can get the right equipment in my home, which will make things easier for me.
“There was a lot of stress whilst my case was ongoing and the litigation itself takes up a lot of time. Having the settlement money has opened up a lot of avenues for me. I can hopefully enjoy life without the drama. It’s taken away the worry.”
Nichola instructed Counsel Stuart McKechnie QC and Daniel Lawson to advise on the case.
Senior Paralegal Zara Manley worked alongside Nichola Fosler in this case.
Life beyond injury
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