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Key elements of our client's case
In this case our client, a minor, was knocked over by a stolen car when crossing the road outside his home. As a result of the accident, our client sustained multiple injuries:
Where our specialist serious injury experience really added value to our client's situation
Following consideration of the preliminary details of the claim, a Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant and we invited them to consider rehabilitation for our client. The Defendant acknowledged our Letter of Claim and agreed to release an interim payment.
We then set about agreeing the appointment of a Rehabilitation Case Manager in consultation with our client and the Defendant Insurer who then released a further interim payment to assist our client. The Immediate Needs Assessment from the Case Manager was received and shared with the Defendant Insurer. We subsequently made enquiries on the availability of Educational Psychology experts and the Defendant Insurer released a large five figure interim payment. Our client continued with his rehabilitation treatment but encountered a number of issues, particularly with school and his behaviour due to the injuries suffered as a result of the accident.
During this time, we chased the Defendant Insurer on numerous occasions to confirm formally their position on liability along with the availability of the Police Report which had been delayed due to the criminal case against the driver of the stolen vehicle.
Our client's complex rehabilitative treatment continued, to include educational support at school, occupational therapy and family support package, paediatrician regarding the sleep/wake cycle and continuing neuropsychological input which highlighted significant issues with behaviour and an erratic sleep pattern. We therefore arranged for our client to be assessed by an Educational & Paediatric Neuropsychologist along with a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist.
Despite ongoing investigations into liability, including interviewing all the witnesses identified, the Defendant Insurer released a further five figure interim payment to enable our client to continue with his treatment followed by two much larger five figure sums due to the complexities of our client's medical situation.
We then received the joint Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon's report which confirmed that our client injuries caused by the index accident included extremely poor vision in his right eye consistent with damage to the right optic nerve. It was recommended that our client be re-examined in two years by which time it would be evident whether or not he had developed problems because of his anaesthetic right cornea and by which time he may have undergone corrective squint surgery.
Over the course of the following weeks, adaptations were made to our client's family home and the Defendant chased again for their stance on liability.
An updated medical report from the Consultant Paediatric Neurologist was received and detailed some pre-accident behavioural issues although confirmed that our client was a physically healthy boy and his educational progress prior to his accident and head injury was considered to be age-appropriate. The expert detailed a number of effects as a direct result of our client's severe brain injury. Physically, this included a slight right-sided facial weakness and a complex impairment of his eye movements and particularly his right eye, which showed a persistent and marked convergent squint. He stated that it was more likely than not that he had some amblyopia (reduced vision) in this right eye. The facial weakness was likely to persist for the remainder of our client's life as well as the cognitive and behavioural difficulties. In addition, our client was considered at risk of developing late, post-traumatic epilepsy.
Some 20 months post-accident, the Defendant finally responded on the issue of liability, advising that the same was still very much an issue and that an accident reconstruction expert had been instructed which resulted in us arranging for a Leading Barrister (Counsel) to review our client's case, in particular liability for the accident. The accident reconstruction report was received, and it was apparent that a meeting between the expert, our client and counsel was necessary.
A little later, the Neuropsychological Assessment Report of the Consultant Paediatric Neuropsychologist was prepared. The expert indicated that our client suffered an injury to the brain in the road traffic accident together with numerous other injuries. A number of CT/MRI head scans were undertaken showing numerous injuries including multiple skull fractures alongside bruising to the brain. Our client now suffered with impaired hearing and vision in addition to behavioural issues. The expert noted the current concerns about the deterioration in our client's behaviour and his ability to engage with learning which has impacted on his academic progress. The expert recommended a future assessment to inform prognosis.
We then obtained the opinion of a Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon seeking a report on causation and whether it was the initial low speed impact caused the brain damage suffered by our client or whether it was the crushing injuries he sustained as a result of the Defendant failing to stop.
Following a further meeting with Counsel, the accident reconstruction expert and the Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon where a number of issues regarding liability and causation were discussed and it was decided that there were sufficient prospects of success to proceed with our client's claim. As a result, we wrote to the Defendant asking them to confirm where we should serve legal proceedings which were subsequently issued and served upon the Defendant who acknowledged receipt and sought agreement to a preliminary trial on liability. A defence was filed which denied liability. Following discussion with counsel it was agreed that an application should be made to the Court for an expedited Trial due to the impact of the delays on our client's rehabilitation.
Following an application hearing, the Court ordered our client's case be listed for a 4 day trial over 6 months later.
Preparations were then put in place to obtain evidence from the attending police officers along with a report from a Toxicologist to consider the argument as to whether the Defendant's use of cocaine impacted their ability to drive. All experts and witnesses were then asked for their availability for the trial date.
An application was issued to the Court seeking disclosure of the Police records relating to the taking of blood samples from the Defendant which was agreed by the Court at a hearing. This information was received and shared with the accident reconstruction expert.
We then disclosed the witness statements of various witnesses and Police officers to the Defendant.
Reaching agreement in respect of liability
As a result of the extensive work and preparations for trial we undertook, the Defendant eventually conceded liability and consented to a Judgment being entered in favour of our client with damages to be assessed.
This excellent result in respect of liability will now enable the case to proceed to a quantum assessment stage and for the client to have the best possible opportunity to be fully compensated for his injuries and lifelong needs he will have.
If you or someone you know has sustained a serious injury and would like to speak to a serious injury specialist, please contact us today.