The Claimant, then aged 18, was a backseat passenger in a car being driven by a friend. He sustained severe injuries including spinal fractures, lung contusions and a head injury which left him with permanent brain damage. This impacted on his sight, hearing and ability to taste and smell.
Criminal proceedings were brought against the Defendant driver and he was ultimately convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol and received a custodial sentence.
The Claimant’s civil claim was transferred to Jill Greenfield, having initially been pursued by other solicitors. By this stage the Claimant had improved significantly, to the extent that he was due to begin his studies. However, the Claimant was still at this stage under the care of the NHS and was without a case manager/the support he needed, if he was to start his course as planned. Liability also remained in dispute.
The Defendant maintained that the Claimant had improved to an extent that he did not need any support and argued that there were significant issues of contributory negligence to be addressed. They argued that at the time of the accident the Claimant was not wearing a seatbelt, that he was drunk and knew that the Defendant was drunk when he got into the car.
Statements were taken from other passengers in the vehicle and copies of the relevant police and ambulance records were also obtained in relation to liability. The Defendant’s initial offer was to settle liability at 85:15% in favour of the Claimant, but ultimately Jill was able to settle this on 90:10% basis.
In the meantime, the Claimant was suffering with ongoing disruption of his dis-executive functioning, which manifested as a lack of insight, disinhibition and difficulty in maintaining his social life, lack of concentration/memory difficulties, mood swings and excessive drinking, among others.
Jill pressed the Defendant to make funds available so that support could be put in place for the Claimant, which enabled the instruction of a case manager.
Various settlement offers were exchanged between the parties, with the Defendant maintaining that the Claimant would be able to continue working full time, which seemed most unlikely given the extent of his difficulties. Ultimately, a settlement was agreed.
At the end of the case Jill commented:
“This was a highly contested claim throughout, however I am very pleased that we have been able to secure such a favourable settlement for the Claimant. He has been extremely determined to overcome his difficulties and, with support particularly from his family and case manager, he has done remarkably well to complete his studies. I think this case really is a testament to what a victim of such a terrible accident can achieve if they are provided with the support that they need.”
The Claimant went on to say:
“With my hand on my heart, I can say it is only with the support of you and your team that we are content with our new lives and that without this support our lives and that of our son would have been very different. You and your team have given him in particular and the family both a sense of ‘ freedom ’ and a new life and for that I thank you most sincerely.”