Case studies

Settlement of head injury claim for pedestrian hit by a car


We recovered substantial damages for a client who suffered a head injury when hit by a car.

Philippa Luscombe, partner in the team who specialises in brain injury cases, was instructed on behalf of our client to claim damages for personal injury in connection with a road traffic accident that occurred in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on 5 May 2013.

In the late evening on 4 May 2013, our client, a young man in his 20s, and his friends were involved in a minor altercation with the defendant when out for an evening. The altercation was quickly dealt with and both parties went their separate ways afterwards. The police were not involved as the matter quickly resolved.

A little later, our client and his friends were walking back to their accommodation unaware that the defendant had walked to his car and was driving along the same road in the same direction. As the defendant came up behind our client and his friends, he swerved across the road and up onto the pavement behind where they were walking. He drove along the pavement at a speed in excess of 30mph, with the two wheels on the driver’s side of the car on the pavement and two wheels on the road travelling against oncoming traffic.

As the defendant approached our client and his friends from behind, they became aware of his approach and tried to get out of the way. The defendant continued to drive at the group and hit two of them. Our client was hit squarely from behind, being lifted onto the bonnet before his head hit the windscreen and A-frame of the car. He was carried along the road by the car for a short period of time before landing on the pavement approximately 10 feet from where he had been hit by the vehicle. After the collision, the defendant rejoined the road and left the scene leaving our client unconscious on the road side, having suffered a significant head injury. The police and an ambulance were called and he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

Our client suffered a fractured skull and significant bleeding in the brain, requiring an emergency craniotomy. He remained under sedation for approximately a week after surgery to avoid causing any further head injury. He subsequently remained at the hospital for another week before being transferred to another hospital and then to a rehabilitation unit nearer to home. It was early August 2013 before he was discharged home.

The defendant was arrested and subsequently charged with attempted murder; causing grievous bodily harm with intent; dangerous driving; and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 10 years.

Our client has made a very good recovery from his head injury, largely thanks to very good rehabilitation but continues to suffer from on-going difficulties affecting his hearing (including tinnitus), memory, recall and energy levels. He has returned to work full time and hopes for further improvement with his ongoing difficulty.

Following submission of the claim to the defendant’s insurers it became apparent that he had never reported the incident or prosecution to them. There were therefore some issues with indemnity but his insurers took a pragmatic approach to the claim and agreed to fund an Immediate Needs Assessment, to deal with the claim and to negotiate an early settlement once our client had successfully returned to work.


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP