Case study: brain injury after cycling accident
We represented a young man who was a victim of a cycling accident. The accident left him with a life-changing brain injury which has caused him numerous personal difficulties. His concentration, memory, personality and behaviour have all been affected.
Because of his injury, he has been unable hold down full time work and needs an extensive package of support to help him as he goes through life. Although he maintains many key life skills, he cannot apply them consistently and needs support with managing his finances and routine. There is a risk that in the future he will suffer from epilepsy which cannot be controlled by medication.
In order to provide for the young man’s complex and substantial needs, we issued a claim on his behalf against the driver. Despite opposition from his lawyers, we were able to get them to agree to an interim funding package which helped with the costs of extensive rehab, occupational therapy, speech therapy and support workers.
The three central points of dispute with the defendants were around whether our client still had the capability to earn any kind of living, what his care needs were and whether or not he would need a professional deputy to manage his affairs for him.
Our medical experts and the defendants’ took opposing views about his condition, thus making negotiations over a settlement much more difficult. The defendants suggested he would eventually be able to work full time, whereas we argued that the severity of his brain injury meant that he would at most be able to undertake part time work on a therapeutic basis.
Linked to the issue of employment was the question of how much help our client would need from a support worker – the defendants’ case was that he would need less support as time went by, but our position was that his situation could get worse as he grew older, leaving him with increased care needs.
We also contended that he would need professional support from a Court of Protection deputy to help him manage his money, and that this should be factored into his compensation.
The claim settled shortly before trial with a value in excess of £5,500,000, including interim payments. This compensation has helped him find the support he needed following the cycling accident, and we expect it will provide a secure future for him as well.
As this story shows, cycling accidents can have traumatic consequences, especially given the relative lack of protection cyclists have compared with car users.