July 21, 2020

Over £270k in damages for 62-year-old runner who was hit by a car and sustained a life-changing brain injury

In March 2014 our client, who we will refer to as C for confidentiality reasons, was out running near his home. An experienced runner, he joined a main road from a bridleway and proceeded in the direction of oncoming traffic; he aimed to take another bridleway further up the road and on the opposite side of the carriageway.

A driver, who was driving in the same direction as C at 50 to 55 mph, saw our client on the opposite side of the road and slowed down slightly. She observed him looking over his shoulder before he turned in front of the vehicle.

The driver collided with C, who was thrown over the roof of her car, coming to rest in the road behind the vehicle.

The impact of the accident

C suffered many injuries as a result of the collision. As well as fractures and dislocation of his ribs, a fracture in his spine, fractures in his legs, and haematoma across his abdomen – among other injuries – perhaps the most significant trauma was a closed head injury and severe traumatic brain injury. He underwent emergency surgery and remained in a low awareness state for around six months, ultimately being transferred to a specialist brain injury care home where he has remained.

Although he initially made progress, beginning to communicate and move independently, as a result of his injuries C lost capacity and has a significantly reduced life expectancy as a result of brain injury related dementia. He is, and will remain, reliant on others for all aspects of daily living and will never work again.

Unfortunately, C also became more vulnerable upon the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic has made his life expectancy extremely precarious given that, at the date of settlement in April, he had less than six months remaining of his forecasted life expectancy.

Seeking compensation

C’s wife, given the life-changing nature of her husband’s injuries, sought compensation for the accident as a litigation friend.

The defendant denied liability, and alleged contributory negligence (the failure of an injured party to act prudently, which may have contributed towards the accident and subsequent injury).

In view of the defendant’s contention that there was contributory negligence by our client, careful consideration was given to how this should impact upon the level of compensation for him and his family. As such, expert evidence was secured by both sides from accident reconstruction and GPS experts (since C was wearing a Garmin GPS tracker at the time of the accident).

The case was settled by negotiation two weeks ahead of trial, and it was presumed that our client was 70% liable for the accident. Our client’s claim on a full liability basis was agreed at £913,887 and applying the discount for contributory negligence his case settled for a lump sum of £274,166.26.

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