Darren sustained catastrophic injuries when his motorbike was hit by a lorry in 2008. Although the lorry – which was turning from a side road onto the A6 to Buxton – braked on seeing Darren approaching, the cab still sprung forward and hit him. The impact was slight but it was enough to send the motorbike flying and for Darren to break his neck on some adjacent farm buildings. The accident made him a C2 tetraplegic meaning he was paralysed from the neck down and his breathing was initially dependent on a ventilator. Now, following a complex surgical procedure, Darren has had a phrenic nerve pacer fitted which now controls his breathing.
Witnesses at the scene verified that Darren clearly slowed down and adjusted his position to accommodate the lorry trying to enter the road. He was well within the 50mph speed limit too. According to the lorry driver, he simply didn’t see Darren coming until it was too late. Three separate accident reconstruction experts were instructed to investigate the case and we moved to start proceedings for a liability trial in the summer of 2010.
Darren’s rehabilitation at the spinal injuries unit was coming to an end and he was ready to be discharged back into the community. He was also in desperate need of a new home, one better suited to his changed circumstances. And obviously, the option of working was no longer open to him. As his solicitors, we applied for an interim payment on Darren’s behalf. The Defendant’s lawyers agreed and a further interim payment was made making the total interim payments well in excess of £1millon.
When it landed again at the High Court of Justice in Manchester in July 2010, this time for a liability trial, the Defendant was found 100% guilty. As his solicitors, once again we applied for an interim payment on Darren’s behalf. The Defendant’s lawyers agreed. This may sound like a lot of money but it has to cover a lot of different requirements including the purchase of a new home, the adaptation of this new home to suit Darren’s needs, a full 24/7 care package, therapies, adapted vehicles, wheelchairs etc. It all adds up. From a medico-legal point of view, we have employed the services of a spinal expert, ophthalmologist, psychologist, care expert, occupational therapist, neurologist, physiotherapist, assistive technologist, accommodation expert and transport expert.
You’d think with this abrupt life change that Darren would be quite down-spirited. We’re actually in awe of the way that he’s coped with this complete upheaval of his lifestyle. He’s adjusted incredibly well and is very happy. The fact that we’ve been able to secure sufficient interim compensation payments to help him make the best of the situation is a great reward for us too. Not to mention the 100% liability victory. It’s really encouraging.