The personal injury team at Penningtons Manches Cooper has recently negotiated the settlement of a claim for a client in his 70s who suffered a below knee amputation as a result of a road traffic accident. The claimant was riding his moped along a main road when a car driver pulled out of a side junction and collided with him. He suffered multiple injuries as a result of the collision, including cervical fractures and a multitude of injuries to his left leg. The claimant initially underwent various surgical procedures, and then an extended period of rehabilitation, during which he experienced significant issues relating to the infection and stability of the bony injuries to his leg. Ultimately, after many months, it was decided that the best option in order for him to regain mobility and independence would be to have an amputation. This was obviously a difficult and life changing decision, but in the circumstances it was the only viable option.
Our client underwent the amputation and then a further period of rehabilitation and prosthetic assessment and provision. Since then, the situation has moved forward for him – largely due to his own determination and independence. He is now back to living with only limited support and assistance in the home and has returned to a number of his pre-accident activities.
However, despite his determination and progress, this accident has had a huge impact on him. He was previously extremely fit, active and fiercely independent, and now has to rely on others for support. He has also been unable to resume some of his previous activities and hobbies, and others he can still do but with less enjoyment. Additionally, he suffers from fatigue and day-to-day life is much more difficult for him. He faces the likelihood of significant further limitations as he ages.
The driver of the car was prosecuted and after some initial delays, his insurers dealt with the matter in a very pragmatic fashion. A full admission of liability was made and the insurers were cooperative in providing interim payments to fund the claimant’s rehabilitation. The personal injury team proceeded by way of fully investigating quantum of the case, the claimant presenting his case in full and the parties agreeing to a settlement meeting, which resulted in a substantial award of damages for the claimant. Whilst clearly no sum of money will regain his previous quality of life, the damages will provide him with financial security and importantly will enable him to have lifelong bespoke prosthetics to maximise his independence and function, make the necessary alterations to his house to make life easier and have care and assistance as he needs.
Partner Philippa Luscombe, who acted for the claimant, comments: “This was an entirely avoidable and very traumatic accident which has affected every aspect of the claimant’s life. However, everyone involved in this case was struck by the claimant’s independence and determination to get on with his life despite his injuries and his age, and it has been rewarding to see the benefits of interim payments and good rehabilitation. The case has taken some time to reach a conclusion due to the problems with the healing of the leg and, ultimately, the need for the amputation, but the insurers for the defendant dealt with this claim swiftly and sensibly. This has resulted in closure and a significant settlement for our client while prolonged litigation and high costs have been avoided. Although the award will never be true compensation for the claimant, it does mean that he has financial security and the support he needs for life.”