AT sustained an above-knee amputation and other injuries when she was hit by an intoxicated driver who failed to stop as she crossed the road. She has successfully secured a settlement that has enabled her to regain her independence.
Nichola Fosler reviews AT’s claim and rehabilitation.
AT was 21 years old at the time of her accident. She was looking forward to progressing her career in the hospitality industry by reaching management level at a local restaurant. AT was on her way home in the early hours of the morning after an evening out with friends when she was hit by a car while crossing at a pedestrian point of a local bypass.
The car’s driver fled the scene, leaving AT seriously injured on the side of the road. Fortunately, an off-duty police officer and off-duty paramedic (travelling separately) passed AT and stopped to offer immediate first aid.
Not only did the driver fail to stop when he hit AT, but he was also found to be highly intoxicated by both alcohol and drugs while driving. The driver of the car was convicted a year later year for causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He received an immediate three-year custodial sentence, serving half in custody and half on licence.
Following AT’s accident, she was taken to Southampton General Hospital, where she was found to have the following injuries:
- Traumatic amputation of the left leg. She initially underwent a below-knee amputation but later required a transfemoral amputation.
- Fractures to the pelvis.
- Damage to part of her vertebrae.
- Rib fracture.
- Bleeding to the brain (acute subdural haematoma).
- Fractures to the left radius and ulna, which were operatively managed.
- Psychological injury.
Following the criminal proceedings, the defendant admitted primary liability but continued to raise the argument of contributory negligence. Advice was obtained from an expert in accident reconstruction.
Stewarts instructed Stuart McKechnie KC to advise on quantum and David Sanderson of counsel on the issue of liability. Following advice from counsel, AT accepted a settlement offer made by the defendant’s insurer.
Various experts were instructed, including a plastic surgeon, a prosthetist, consultant orthopaedic surgeons for both upper and lower limb injuries, a care expert, a neurologist, a physiotherapist, a psychiatrist, and accommodation and accident reconstruction experts.
The defendant’s solicitor and insurer worked collaboratively with us on the case. This led to AT receiving early interim funding enabling her rehabilitation to be started quickly. This included inpatient rehabilitation and a referral to a private prosthetic clinic.
A case manager was appointed to coordinate AT’s rehabilitation, funded by interim payments. AT’s case manager worked closely with her to arrange immediate rehabilitation support. Through her case manager and Stewarts, AT began using the services of Remedy Healthcare and Proactive Prosthetics. This provided her with occupational therapy, physiotherapy, exercise rehabilitation, and psychological and prosthetic support. These clinical sessions have supported AT in successfully using the Genium X3 prosthesis and building up her strength and confidence in using a prosthetic leg. Recommendations were also made to AT for a bespoke sports limb to allow her to go back to mountain biking, which she previously enjoyed as a regular hobby, and which features a high definition silicone (lifelike) cosmetic cover.
AT has made further steps in her recovery by moving into her own home, where she lives independently with her fiancé and dog. She has continued her rehabilitation and is looking positively at her future now that her case has been successfully settled.
AT says: “Sustaining life changing injuries and the trauma of it all can be difficult on the best of days. Adding financial hardship would be enough to make a lot of people feel hopeless and stuck. Having financial stability allows me to focus on my rehabilitation and mental and physical health.
My fiancé and I recently went on a backpacking trip to visit friends in Ireland, Spain, and Amsterdam. When I first got my leg in February 2022, I never would have expected that a little over a year later I would be hauling a month’s worth of baggage on my back through the uneven streets of Amsterdam, and without my wheelchair for the entire month! The value of having my mobility and most importantly, my independence, is not lost on me.
Stewarts have been nothing less than incredible in my journey. They have connections to the best specialists around the country to assess you, which made a big impact on the result of the settlement. I felt very confident in leaving the case in the hands of Nichola Fosler, who put me in contact with everybody who has been involved in my rehabilitation. She has a vested interest in charity work and I’ve seen her on many outings with LimbPower. Knowing that your fate is in the hands of somebody who truly cares about what they do is so comforting, and really allows you to put your focus on the most important thing, getting your life back!
Above and beyond would be the only way to describe the level of care and attention I received while with Stewarts and I would recommend them if anybody I knew was in a similar situation.
I spent two weeks at Remedy Healthcare, where a brilliant team helped me kickstart my journey with an intensive course tailored to my specific needs. They continue to see me at home and the gym with personalised workout regimes. I’d also highlight Proactive Prosthetics in Godalming who are quick to respond and seem to catch problems with my leg before they even begin; and LimbPower are an incredible charitable organisation who frequently run events for differently abled people, such as the LimbPower Games every summer.”
Senior paralegal Lizzie Dunn contributed to this article.
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