AS was spending New Year’s Eve in his local village and had parked his car to get out and speak to a friend. He was standing at the rear of his parked car when the defendant drove straight into him. The driver advised the police they had been dazzled by bright sunlight. AS was pinned to the back of his car which caused severe injury to his legs. As a result of his injuries, AS sustained bilateral transfemoral amputations to both legs.
Partner Nichola Fosler and senior paralegal Lizzie Dunn acted for AS and reviews his claim and rehabilitation as we mark Road Safety Week 2023.
Before the road traffic collision and injury, AS enjoyed a country lifestyle. His role as head gamekeeper meant he led an active life, with most of his time spent outdoors. AS’s hobbies complemented his employment. He was a keen shooter, both clay pigeon shooting and rifle shooting, having competed in the sport since he was a child. He also bred and raised gun dogs, which were an important addition to himself and his family. He had four dogs at the time of the accident and was in the process of getting a fifth. He also enjoyed keeping his garden and grew his own fruit and vegetables. AS also owned a boat and enjoyed sea fishing. He and his wife would spend time on the boat during their free time. He always kept himself busy both in his job and socially, spending a lot of time with a large circle of friends.
Injuries and impact
After the incident, AS was airlifted to Southampton University Hospital. AS lost a considerable amount of blood and suffered a cardiac arrest while in the air ambulance. He spent nearly a month as an inpatient before being discharged.
AS initially underwent surgery for through knee amputations, but after a series of infections, the medical team at Southampton General unanimously decided AS required above-knee amputation of both legs.
After being discharged, AS was referred to the prosthetics clinic at Oxford University Hospital under the NHS. At the same time, AS was also referred to Proactive Prosthetics for private treatment regarding prosthetics. Proactive Prosthetics helped AS by initially fitting him with ‘stubbies’, which are short walking prostheses. These enabled AS to begin his rehabilitation as soon as possible.
AS’s injuries and amputations meant he was unable to return to work and was eventually retired under ill-health grounds from his gamekeeper role.
During the claim, AS was supported at home by a paid support worker.
AS’s case manager, Tracey Clarke, was instrumental in ensuring he had the maximum benefit of rehabilitation. He undertook two periods of inpatient rehabilitation with Remedy Healthcare. Initially, he progressed to walking with Kenevo microprocessor knees and then onto wearing Genium X3s. He benefited from clinic and home-based input from a personal trainer, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. Psychological therapy was also provided for both AS and his wife. He later purchased a second pair of Genium X3 limbs and a longer pair of stubby prostheses purposely for outdoor activities and country pursuits.
AS purchased a suitably adapted quad bike to enable him to return to some of his country pursuits, and a suitably adapted boat was researched with the assistance of the case manager and occupational therapist.
The case manager helped AS organise a holiday to Portugal in a fully accessible villa.
AS was not ready to move house in the initial period following his accident as his home had been in the family for many years, having previously been his father’s home. Adaptations were made to the property, including a downstairs toilet and ensuite bathroom and the fitting of smart technology in the house. Shortly before the settlement of the claim, AS had found a suitable long-term property to purchase, and the purchase was progressing and completed following the settlement.
AS’s first goal was to be walking for his wedding celebration in August 2021, which he achieved.
Stewarts was quick to act after taking on AS’s claim. We engaged a case manager to produce an immediate needs assessment (INA) report. This enabled us to request significant interim funding from the defendant insurer within the first month after AS’s accident.
Stewarts successfully obtained £795,000 in interim funding for AS during the claim.
The defendant admitted liability in full. This allowed us to focus solely on the quantum aspect of the claim.
To maximise the value of AS’s claim, several medical and non-medical experts were instructed to produce reports and provide opinions on various issues. These included orthopaedic (upper and lower limb), rehabilitation, prosthetics, care and occupational therapy, physiotherapy, plastic surgery, psychiatry, accommodation and assistive technology.
William Latimer Sayer KC advised on the quantum of AS’s claim.
After a successful negotiation between both parties in May 2023, AS’s claim was settled for a substantial seven-figure sum.
In addition, we assisted AS’s wife in pursuing her own successful claim as a secondary victim for the psychological injury she sustained in witnessing the aftermath of the accident.
All road users have a duty of care when driving. If a driver is found to be driving below that standard of care when causing an accident, they are likely to be entirely at fault. The lack of care taken by the defendant driver wholly caused the accident and AS’s injuries.
Driving at a safe speed does not just mean keeping to the speed limit but adjusting and adapting your driving for the road conditions you face, particularly if your visibility is impeded. If the defendant driver had adjusted their speed by going slower, AS’s injuries might not have been as severe.
AS has engaged fully with his rehabilitation and prosthetics, which is a testament to the impressive recovery he has made since his injury.
He has returned to many of his previous hobbies, particularly shooting, deer stalking (including competing) and sea fishing.
With his settlement money, AS and his wife have been able to purchase a property they had their eyes on for a while. They have remained close to the village they love and enjoy returning to much of their ‘old’ life.
AS says: “Not only did the settlement enable me to purchase a suitable single-level home to meet my needs, it also provided funds for the Waterproof Ottobock Genium X3’s and spare prosthetic limbs and sockets I needed to be able to go sea fishing and shooting in all weathers for the rest of my life. This has meant I have now returned to almost all my everyday activities as much as I possibly could.
I trusted Stewarts fully with the case and the advice they gave. They have been professional throughout and Nichola Fosler is very experienced at what she does. They were efficient in helping with interim funds and this helped a lot. I would also like to acknowledge the help I received from ProActive and Remedy Healthcare, who were integral to my recovery journey. Thank you all for your help.”