Our client IB was a 16 year old girl who had just completed her GCSE’s and had commenced a full time NVQ course at college. Life changed dramatically for IB when she was involved in a car accident which left her with a spinal injury, and is now wheelchair bound for life.
IB was a rear seat passenger in a vehicle, when the driver of the car lost control of his vehicle. There were no other vehicles involved in the accident. The vehicle collided with a hedgerow and an iron fence, spun, then hit a tree stump and continued rotating before colliding with a hedgerow in the opposite carriageway resulting in the vehicle being written off. IB had to be cut out of the vehicle by emergency services. The accident was serious, and IB’s best friend, who was also a passenger in the vehicle, was fatally injured. IB sustained a burst fracture dislocation of her lumbar spine. She also sustained fractures to her thoracic vertebra and an injury to her left clavicle, lower limb abrasions, a small pneumothorax and a laceration to her head.
IB was admitted to a specialist spinal unit after the accident, and underwent spinal surgery. She remained in hospital for a period of just under five months. She underwent decompression and fixation surgery to her spine and surgery to the dislocation of the left sternoclavicular joint. She also experienced psychological injury.
The driver was convicted in the Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving and on two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving for which he received a prison sentence.
Rehabilitation and recovery
It was not possible for IB to return to her family home as it was unsuitable for her needs and through the claim an accessible bungalow was rented. She received input from a number of therapists including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, hydrotherapists and psychologists. She took adapted driving lessons and passed her driving test and a suitable adapted car was bought which together with the implementation of a care package enabled her to regain her independence.
IB was a very young age at the time of the accident and not only had to come to terms with the loss of her best friend but also the emotional and physical challenges of the life changing injuries she had sustained in the accident.
Legal case and settlement
During the claim, IB recovered interim payments totalling £647,500 which enabled funding of suitable accommodation, case management, support worker input, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, psychology, orthotic and occupational therapy input. Interim payments also helped IB have access to a wide range of equipment including a BATEC bike, standing wheelchair and a sports wheelchair for playing wheelchair tennis.
IB trialled various exoskeletons including the Rewalk, Rex, Ekso and Indigo and provision for the cost of purchasing an exoskeleton device was included in the claim.
The claim settled for £8.17 million. This money will help IB provide for her adapted needs throughout her life. The settlement will enable IB to purchase a suitable long term property, ensure that her care needs are met in the future with an increase to her care as she ages, meet the cost of aids and equipment and to enable her to pay for her therapies and medical treatment.
IB has set up a personal injury trust to enable her to continue to receive her means tested benefits alongside the settlement.
Life Beyond Injury
IB was able to return to college a year following the accident and she successfully completed a BTech course and then an NVQ3 in fashion. She now plans to go to University.
Following completion of her college course she went travelling with the assistance of her support worker around Europe for a month. During this time she visited Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland.
IB also took adapted driving lessons and passed her driving test. She then purchased an adapted vehicle and this enabled her to gain further independence.
Testimonial from IB:
“Nicki was really amazing, she was great the whole way through the case. I was very young at the time of the accident and she was very respectful, and gave me my own space when I needed it. Stewarts were professional, and really know what they are talking about”
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 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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