One day in November 2006, David Tolley was driving to work on the motorway when there was a brief but very violent hailstorm which made the driving conditions extremely hazardous. The car overtaking him lost control, so he stopped to make sure the driver was OK. That was when he spotted a woman in another car that had crashed on the opposite side of the motorway. He crossed the carriageway, saw that she too was unhurt and helped her out of the car to safety. With her car blocking the outside lane, David decided to move her car to avoid any further accidents. While he was in the process of entering her car to do this he was struck, first by a car and then a transit van. The impact sent him catapulting along the motorway, causing some very severe injuries. David was taken to Arrowe Park Hospital near Birkenhead where it quickly became clear that his spinal cord had been badly damaged in the accident, rendering him paraplegic.
After three months recovering at Arrowe Park Hospital, David was moved to the Southport Spinal Centre to begin his rehabilitation. He spent another four months there before being allowed to go home. However, it quickly became apparent that David’s home was not suited to his new needs as a wheelchair user.
David appointed us as solicitors in his case and one of our first priorities was to secure an interim payment to help him move to accommodation that was better suited to him. We were able to do this and in May 2009 David and his wife Hilary moved to their new home in Prenton, one of the suburbs of Birkenhead.
Meanwhile our legal battles were continuing on David’s behalf. Three separate insurance companies were contesting the case, suggesting his injuries were his own fault. This level of insensitivity only galvanised us all the more – after all, David’s actions saved several people from a potentially disastrous fate. And luckily, a judge agreed with us. In May 2010, some four years after his accident, Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled in David’s favour after going through extensive accident reconstruction reports and hearing from a number of independent witnesses. On the second day of the trial, the High Court Judge dismissed the arguments from the three co-defendants, saying that he found the evidence sufficiently compelling and that David was not responsible for his injuries. If anything, he felt that David’s actions were exceptionally brave and not in any way foolhardy.
The case was fully settled in December 2012 when David received a multi million pound settlement. We were thrilled with this settlement as it means that David and Hilary have everything they need to rebuild their lives following such a devastating injury. And given the severity of his condition, it’s truly miraculous to see how David has turned his life around, now volunteering for some local spinal injury groups and learning how to hand cycle.
We’re also very proud of the fact that our representation of David won Outstanding Case of the Year at the Personal Injury Awards 2012.