Moore Barlow has successfully achieved a substantial seven-figure settlement and award of provisional damages for a young motorcyclist who suffered serious injuries during a road traffic accident.
The accident and client background
Our client was riding his motorcycle on his normal route home from work when a motor car driver negligently turned into our client’s traffic lane. The car driver was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. The car driver in the insurance claim via their insurer’s admitted full responsibility.
Our then 19-year-old client enjoyed a very active lifestyle with particular interests in sailing and skiing. They were also due to start University but had to postpone this for 12 months due to their injuries sustained. Following the collision, our client was left with a severe lower limb orthopaedic injury which has resulted in 7 surgical interventions to date and an extensive rehabilitation programme. Our client also contemplated a career in the Royal Navy which is sadly now not an option.
The benefit of the 2015 Rehabilitation Code
The Rehabilitation Code 2015 promotes the collaborative use between the solicitor and insurer of rehabilitation to help the injured “claimant” receive the appropriate treatment, care and equipment to make the best possible recovery both in terms of their physical injuries and psychological impact.
Fortunately, the insurer of the motor car engaged in the Rehabilitation Code enabling our client to receive early intervention with the timely appointment of a jointly instructed Case Manager, who built a strong relationship with our client and was able to provide continued support throughout the legal process over several years.
Di Magrane, case manager from Circle Case Management
I vividly recall my first meeting with this client. He was laying on the sofa very pale and in pain. He felt that his life had been put on hold and he was extremely fearful of the possibility of needing to have his severely damaged leg amputated.
The client’s family were extremely anxious and frustrated that there seemed to be nothing in place to help their son recover and regain his previously very active life.
It was essential for me as a jointly instructed case manager to get rehab in place as quickly as possible.
I prepared a detailed report laying out a rehab plan with clear SMART goals.
From the onset there was collaborative working relationship between Moore Barlow, the insurer and the case manager. This enabled decisions to be made in a timely way. As the insurance company was kept fully up to speed with the progress and complexities of the case they were much more willing to support recommendations from the case manager.
The client’s rehab was highly personalised and reflected his stage in life (he was in a gap year having just left school at the time of his injury) his strengths, interests and aspirations. In the early days the client would be encouraged, supported and assisted in his wheelchair to leave his home through his interest in photography. Towards the end of his rehabilitation, the client had not only gained a BA in Media, but had also secured an MA in Film making. He was also working on a part time self-employed basis, driving himself to shoots and travelling to assist on a well known documentary and promotion.
The instructing parties were supportive of the case manager being fully involved in the clinical decision-making including attendance at consultant appointments. This allows for further understanding of proposed lower limb reconstructive surgery, access to a second opinion and the funding for prehab and intensive rehab to be agreed well in advance.
The case manager was able to support the client to progress his preinjury plan to attend university. This included finding accessible accommodation and putting acceptable support in place. Moore Barlow and the insurer were able to recognise and support the clients need for independence. The move from a hire car driven by parents to the client being able to drive a car with minor adaptations was a significant point in his recovery as it gave him a sense of freedom.
The way forward planning meetings provided a very useful format to discuss not only treatment but reach agreement on funding for surgery, therapy, accessible accommodation and any equipment required. This quick decision-making enabled the client to continue on his life’s trajectory without interruption. Surgery was planned at the start of the Summer breaks, rehab was intensive so with support he was back at university 12 months after the accident. The case manager changed the MDTs according to the clients change in location. Each team therapist providing what the client needed at that time.
The client was able to move residential properties without it impacting on his studies, surgery or rehab.
When I discharged the client we reflected on his progress. I had built up a close trusting relationship with both the client and his family which was in stark contrast to the stressful beginning meeting when we first met. We had all joined team client. We agreed “you have to be in it to win it!” Making it off the sofa, putting the effort in with the therapy getting to university, despite all his huge misgivings, allowed him to make lifelong friends and carve out a niche career playing to his strengths. His lower limb reconstruction and rehabilitation surpassed all expectations and he is currently able to walk onto set without any aids. The client has learnt strategies to manage his condition and pain so he can get on living his life.
Rehabilitation and getting on with life
Our client funded by the at fault insurer had access to extensive therapies and further surgeries. His case manager supported him to start University a year later than he would have done where he ultimately secured a good quality degree and subsequently went on to achieve a Masters. Our client’s accommodation throughout was adapted for his needs paid for by the at fault insurer. Having secured his Masters he was then able to enter into gainful employment.
Our client was able to resume skiing using a sit-ski and able to holiday with reasonable adjustments supported by his partner.
To our client’s credit, his resilience and determination with the rehabilitation has led to significant progress. However, our client is left with pain, fatigue and a detrimental impact to their working and social life. In addition, and perhaps the most significant impact to our client’s life going forward is the very likely risk of an above knee amputation.
What the client said
I cannot thank enough Matthew Claxson and the whole team at Moore Barlow who have supported me from the very beginning when everything given my injuries looked bleak to now where my situation is so very different. I have with the help of Moore Barlow more function in my leg, secured a Masters degree leading to paid work which I find of interest, have a house that is suitable for my leg, and also I have held down a steady relationship. I am aware that I am at risk of having an amputation later on in life but I take some comfort that I have provisional damages to help fund that eventuality should it arise. I would not hesitate to recommend Matthew Claxson and his Serious injury team at Moore Barlow to anyone else who has been seriously injured.
The awarding of provisional damages and how this helped our client
Provisional damages may be awarded where it is proved there is a measurable chance the injured person will suffer serious physical or mental deterioration in the future.
In this case, the expert consultant orthopaedic surgeon signified that our client has an 85% chance of requiring an amputation in approximately 40 years’ time.
It would be very difficult to quantify what the cost of prosthetics would be at the time our client is likely to require an amputation. Additionally, it is uncertain what advancements in technology might be made and therefore any associated costs involved.
Whilst insurers prefer to settle claims on a full and final basis, due to our expert evidence, we felt strongly that any settlement discussed must allow for an award of provisional damages and we advised our client accordingly.
We are pleased that we were able to achieve for our client a seven figure payment in addition to an award of provisional damages. This provides our client the security that in the unfortunate circumstance they require an amputation, the means are in place to obtain the necessary treatment, equipment and care required.
In the meantime, we hope that the seven-figure settlement obtained allows our client to continue progressing and move on with their life.
A word from the lead lawyer
It was a pleasure to act for our client who had a genuine interest in getting the best out of his rehabilitation to get on with his life. The Rehabilitation Code 2015 afforded the framework for us to work collaboratively through out with the at fault insurer and ultimately via a Joint Settlement Meeting secure for our client an excellent settlement on a provisional damages basis. The provisional damages is such an important requirement to give our client security of compensation later in life should the need for an amputation arise.
Matthew Claxson – Personal Injury partner
Explore our recent cases
How Moore Barlow can help
At Moore Barlow, our mission is to represent individuals who have experienced the most serious personal injuries. We are dedicated personal injury solicitors who step in when life-altering circumstances have turned your world upside down. Our team are skilled at acting in insurance claims for those who have sustained serious injury and getting them access to rehabilitation, interim payments and compensation to rebuild their lives.
As one of the UK’s top personal injury law firms (ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500 and Band 1 by Chambers & Partner), we regularly secure multi-million-pound settlements for our clients, who in most cases receive 100% compensation.
If you have suffered a serious injury then contact our team on 0800 157 7611 or email@example.com.