AB, a father of two young boys, sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury at the age of 32 when he was involved in a road traffic collision while riding his motorcycle.

Kimberley Owen, a senior associate in our Personal Injury department, had conduct of the claim and reviews the case here.


The case

AB sustained devastating, life-changing injuries in a road traffic collision due to the defendant driver’s negligence.

On the day of the collision, AB was riding his motorcycle when the defendant driver drove his vehicle across AB’s path. This was despite it being AB’s right of way and the defendant driver being warned by his passenger to “mind the motorbike”.

AB instructed Stewarts to bring a claim against the defendant driver.

The defendants’ legal team denied liability and raised allegations of contributory negligence, suggesting AB’s riding rendered him substantially to blame for the collision.


Injuries sustained and impact on AB’s life

At the time of the collision in late 2021, AB, now aged 35, was a physically active and healthy father, living with his partner and one-year-old son. As well as working as a warehouse manager, he regularly played football, rode his motorcycle for pleasure and attended the gym. He had a muscular physique and enjoyed an active lifestyle.

As a consequence of the collision, AB suffered a burst fracture of T9 with associated fractures of the right-sided transverse processes of T8, T9 and T10 with a dislocation fracture of the posterior arch of his right ninth rib. Posterior spinal surgical stabilisation was conducted from T8 to T12.

Tragically, the injuries rendered AB paraplegic, condemning him to a lifetime of wheelchair dependence.

In addition, AB suffered pelvic injuries, including a non-dislocated fracture of his left inferior pubic ramus and fracture of his left acetabulum, as well as a fracture of his right inferior pubic ramus and dislocated fracture of his right superior pubic ramus. These fractures were associated with internal injuries. His pelvic fractures were treated conservatively, as was his left knee laceration, which required surgical debridement. Additional internal injuries, including a right-sided pneumothorax, were sustained.

AB has suffered a number of health issues since the collision, including skin breakdown/pressure sores, recurrent urinary tract infections, aggressive spasms in his legs, stomach and glutes, ongoing deep back pain at his injury level, shoulder and neck pain, constant neuropathic pain at T9 level, tennis elbow symptoms, hyperflexic neuropathic bladder, neuropathic bowel dysfunction, loss of sexual function, psychological sequelae, an inability to maintain a constant core temperature and difficulties with cognition.

The injuries have inevitably impacted every aspect of his life, including his ability to father his two children, his relationship with his partner, his employment, his physical and mental health and his financial and functional independence.


Admission to hospital

Following the collision, AB spent over five months in three hospitals, where he received intense inpatient treatment and rehabilitation.

Given his inability to access the pre-collision home he had previously shared with his partner and youngest child, he was discharged to rental accommodation.



AB instructed Kimberley Owen of Stewarts shortly after he was injured.

Solicitors for the defendant refused to fund the recommended rehabilitation through the Rehabilitation Code of Conduct, given their stance on liability.

However, during the course of the claim, interim payments totalling £290,000 were paid to AB, enabling him to fund some (but not all) of his equipment, accommodation and transport needs.

The interim payments also enabled him to benefit from a spinal injury case manager and a support worker, as well as various therapies, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, tissue viability input, personal training and sports massage.


Experts and settlement

To enable the assessment of AB’s prognosis and long-term needs, both parties obtained expert evidence from a range of experts.

Given the extensive range of AB’s injuries, Stewarts instructed 13 quantum experts in the fields of spinal rehabilitation, orthopaedic spinal surgery, urology, pain management, upper limb orthopaedic surgery, lower limb orthopaedics, psychiatry, physiotherapy, bowel nursing, care, occupational therapy, accommodation and assistive technology.

Stewarts instructed Stuart McKechnie KC and Jeremy Ford of Deka chambers (on the issue of quantum) and David Sanderson of 12 King’s Bench Walk (on the issue of liability/contributory negligence).

The defendant did not make any offers before the settlement meeting in March 2024.

A settlement was achieved at the joint settlement meeting for a high seven-figure lump sum and provisional damages to guard against the risk that AB might, in the future, develop syringomyelia, causing a deterioration in his neurological function.

The order agreed by the parties on settlement allowed for a 20% deduction in respect of contributory negligence.


Life beyond injury

AB is now looking forward to moving on with his life post-litigation. His immediate priorities are buying and adapting a suitable property that fully meets his post-collision needs.

He is secure in the knowledge that he has sufficient money to ensure that all his post-collision needs, including care and support, aids and equipment, accommodation and therapy, will be met for life.



AB said: “Working with Kimberley over the last two and a half years has been great. She has provided excellent communication, help understanding certain terminology and answering questions during the claim process promptly. The outcome of the JSM was surprising following the defendant’s stance throughout the process but I am very happy with the amount Kimberley and her team have got for me.

I now have the funds to move forward with my life and get suitable accommodation, ongoing physio and support from private consultants, rather than relying on the NHS, without worrying that I will run out of funds.”



You can find further information regarding our injury expertise, experience and team on our Personal Injury page. 


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