K (aged 49 at the time of his accident) lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with his wife of 30 years, D, who is employed as a teaching assistant. They have one daughter and an infant granddaughter. 

Prior to his accident, K was training to compete in the Great North Run in September 2015 which he was running in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind. He enjoyed DIY and was a keen carpenter. He worked full time as a case maker/packer at an engineering company, often working long hours to provide gifts and holidays for his family. K and D enjoyed walking their two King Charles spaniels along the banks of the River Tyne and the beautiful Northumbrian coastline.

K enjoyed good health and was fully independent in his day to day life. He enjoyed an active social life based around family and friends.

The incident

In February 2015, K suffered severe facial and brain injuries when he was struck on the head while operating a defective crane at his place of work. He was taken to hospital and admitted to intensive care where he was placed in an induced coma. He required intubation, ventilation, intracranial pressure bolt monitoring and surgical repair of his many facial and skull fractures.

Following his discharge from hospital he received rehabilitation at Walkergate Park Hospital until August 2015.

A privately funded case manager was appointed in September 2015 from interim funds obtained by Stewarts from his employer’s insurer. The case manager engaged a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team consisting of:

  • a team of support workers (working 35 hours per week)
  • a neurophysiotherapist
  • an occupational therapist
  • a rehabilitation assistant
  • a neuropsychologist

Injuries and rehabilitation

K suffered a combination of cognitive, behavioural, physical and sensory impairment.  He has suffered apathy and disinhibition; loss of initiation; significant fatigue; impairment to his ability to weigh information; defective and reduced verbal reasoning and working memory.

In addition, he lost sight on the left side with reduced peripheral vision on the right, such that he is registered partially sighted.  K completely lost his hearing on the right side and is partially deaf on the left side. He has lost his sense of smell and has impaired taste. He suffers vestibular problems related to concussion of the auditory and vestibular systems.  The combination of these deficits renders him incapable of independent living.

D provided considerable levels of support and assistance throughout the claim for her husband.  She continues to work as a teaching assistant, now part time, as well as supporting her daughter and grandchild.

As a consequence of K’s physical, sensory and cognitive problems, funds were obtained during the course of the claim from the insurers to allow the couple to move from their long-time family home into a bungalow that had been specifically adapted for K’s needs. Since moving to a bungalow, K is a lot happier and is able to live a more independent lifestyle.

 

Legal case and settlement

At a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM) in January 2019, K’s legal team (Christopher Wilson-Smith QC of Outer Temple Chambers, Andrew Axon of Park Lane Plowden Chambers and Warren Maxwell, Partner at Stewarts) achieved a multi million pound settlement on a lump sum basis. The insurer agreed to repay all welfare benefits owed to the Compensation Recovery Unit, totalling thousands of pounds, in addition to the compensation paid to K.

One of the main points of contention in this case was the care package that was necessary to support K in the future. The insurance company’s lawyers sought to dramatically reduce K’s care and support based on reports from experts they had obtained. The Claimant and his legal team were unwilling to compromise on K’s future care and case management needs and the agreed settlement allowed for a higher level of care and support to allow for flexibility in K’s support programme and additional care as K and D grow older together.

This settlement will allow K to live a supported, independent life in a suitably adapted home with his wife and family while providing him with access to a range of therapies.

 

Testimonial from D, K’s wife and litigation friend:

“Stewarts’ level of professional and legal expertise has been excellent from the start of my husband’s case right up till the end. I liked the way that Warren handled everything and was always on hand for any advice and worries that we had all of the way through.

Warren was really good in every aspect from start to finish I was always able to talk to him and approach him with any questions I had. Believe me there were a lot!

If it wasn’t for Warren and Stewarts K wouldn’t be where he is now. With Warren being able to get interim payments, K was able to start his rehab very quickly by going to neurophysiotherapy. He was also able to have a support team around him, including a case manager, support workers and access to an occupational therapist. All of these things helped K, and also me, to try and get our lives back on track after his accident.

K loved to do DIY before his accident. We were lucky enough to find the Percy Hedley Foundation who run craftwork sessions. K attended woodwork sessions once a week and was able to make garden furniture to sell to the public. This gave him back a sense of wellbeing, as though he was working again. He has now increased his attendance to twice a week and hopes to get more involved in the future. The settlement enables K to continue to attend the woodwork classes, and look towards attending an extra day.

The settlement has made a huge difference in K’s life. While the case was ongoing, we purchased a bungalow and were able to make all the necessary adaptations. This made life more independent for K as he was really struggling with the stairs in our old home.

K now also goes to a weekly group organised by the charity Headway. This is also really good for him as it’s with people that are in a similar situation to him.

I really can’t thank Warren enough for all of his help.”

 


 

The Percy Hedley Foundation is a charity based in the North of England that aims to provide a range of high quality, specialist and personalised care and education support to disabled people and their families. For more information, or to contact them, please visit their website.

Headway is a UK wide brain injury charity with a mission to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. For more information about Headway, or to contact your local Headway group, please visit their website.

 


 

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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 join in the conversation and share your stories of overcoming adversity to lead a fulfilling life beyond injury: on Twitter, here #lifebeyondinjury; or on Facebook, here #lifebeyondinjury.

 


 

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