A swift and satisfactory resolution to what was a complex and difficult spinal injury case
Written by David Eyres
Our client was a pedestrian involved in a road traffic accident. Tragically, the accident resulted in life changing injuries for our client who suffered an L1 complete spinal cord injury – rendering her a paraplegic.
This is a devastating and life-altering injury. Our client was left dependent on a wheelchair, living in accommodation that was grossly unsuitable. Time was of the essence: we focussed on making short-term accommodation adaptations, and then securing funds to allow our client to buy a suitable home able to be adapted for wheelchair access.
From accident to settlement, in just 20 months, we worked with the case manager to satisfy our client’s rehabilitation, support and accommodation needs. Our client was determined to return home from hospital as soon as possible; in the short term, we had a wet-room installed and kitchen adaptations to allow for wheelchair access. The flooring was adjusted, a ramp was installed and the back garden was also landscaped to allow access.
Finding suitable accommodation for long-term fulfilment
This didn’t negate the fact the property was too small – for example, internal doors had to be removed to allow the wheelchair to pass through. Therefore, concurrently, we recruited the services of a property expert to consider longer-term rentals, or suitable properties to purchase.
The long-term property also needed to allow our client to enjoy spending time with family, both inside and outdoors. Our client had a large extended family, so staying in the local area was essential. Also, room for carers to stay over was an important factor.
Our client viewed a number of properties, and ultimately found one which our client loved, and the treating and expert team agreed was suitable. We secured a substantial interim payment to purchase the property, and before the case was over, our client received the keys to the new home.
The new home was ideal in size and location, but it still requires adaptation to cater for all the equipment and care that our client requires as a wheelchair user, including bathroom and kitchen modifications, wheelchair-friendly paths in the garden, widening of doorways, fitting a therapy room, ceiling track hoists, and more.
Seeking expert evidence to reach a satisfactory settlement
As we progressed with the practical improvements, in tandem, we put the legal case together. We sought expert evidence in the fields of spinal, hand/wrist, care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, accommodation and assistive technology to formally evidence our client’s civil case.
We secured damages of £4.5million plus a provisional damages order for the risk of developing syringomyelia in the future. The settlement has ensured that our client could purchase the new home and has the funds to adapt it to make life as comfortable as possible in the future.
Partner and Senior Solicitor Gerard Horton says;
“The key in this case was to secure substantial funds early on, to enable us to tackle our client’s accommodation needs, both in the short and longer term. The case was issued at court and an application made for a substantial interim payment. The application was conceded by the defendant, allowing our client to purchase a suitable long-term home whilst the legal case was on-going.
“Soon after, we were able to reach an excellent settlement, which would enable our client to work with the architect and get started on the building adaptations. There are already many exciting plans underway to get the works completed. It’s extremely rewarding for us to have played a part in the process. I wish our client the very best for the future.”