Dushal Mehta was instructed by Juliane Schanzenbach, a German national who had been living in the UK for a number of years and was working as a bow maker and restorer at a specialist shop in the heart of London. On 23 August 2013, Juliane was riding her bicycle to work as she had done every day. She stopped at traffic lights between Seymour Place and Marylebone Road. She was waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. When it did, she proceeded to cross the junction and as she did so, a taxi turned into her path and crashed into her causing her very severe injuries.
The taxi driver had been positioned behind Juliane and so there was no excuse for him not having seen Juliane cross the junction.
As a result of the accident, Juliane suffered a severe fracture of the right radius and ulnar and the very experienced medical expert reporting on her case commented that it was the worst fracture that he had ever seen.
Unfortunately, there was no independent eye witness account of the accident (despite the accident occurring during morning rush hour) and there was no CCTV footage of the accident. Juliane maintained throughout the case that the taxi driver should have seen her and that he simply turned into her causing her to fall to the floor. The Defendant failed to serve any witness evidence from the driver of the taxi; however, they did serve a statement from the passenger in the Defendant's vehicle suggesting that Juliane had driven into the back of the taxi driver. Juliane maintained her account of the accident and earlier this year Dushal was able to secure a full value settlement for Juliane in the sum of £130,000.
Following the accident, Juliane had stoically carried on her day to day life. Despite her significant injuries and multiple operations she received very limited help from her friends every Sunday for a couple of months. She then had no further help. She adjusted to her day to day life by using her other hand for her routine tasks, such as getting ready, washing and cooking. She also returned to part time work again much sooner than any of the medical experts had expected. She fought through the significant pain she must have been in to get back to her normal life as much as possible.
Unfortunately, the injuries that she sustained and the long term damage that the accident caused to her arm have meant that she is unlikely to be able to return to bow making in the future. She has returned to work as a bow restorer, somehow managing to retain many of her famous and talented customers. However, she will not be able to make any bows from scratch which she had done prior to the accident.
Juliane had envisaged making bows and selling them to supplement her income in retirement. That will no longer be possible.
The Defendants failed to admit liability throughout the case and because of this, court proceedings had to be commenced to progress Juliane's claim. Dushal secured a number of very helpful witness statements from current colleagues of Juliane and previous students of hers from a time when she taught bow making and restoring. Those witnesses were now experts in the field themselves, making bows in mainland Europe and selling them to customers around the world. They were able to provide very supportive witness evidence of Juliane's ability within the field and her specialist skills and the likely income she would have generated from bow making when she had retired and returned to Germany.
At the end of the case, Juliane said the following:
"I am pleased with the final outcome and this good settlement is due to your handling of this case. In the last 3½ years I always felt well supported and I am very grateful that you welcomed me more often than usual in your offices, to explain to me carefully the whole procedure, making clear the points where I had to decide and always offering your support for my decisions. That was very helpful. Thank you."
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