Life-changing injury - David's story
A man became trapped between two vehicles when he was hit by a 16-year-old uninsured driver, resulting in an above-the-knee amputation and a three month stay in hospital.
Posted on 08 March 2023
The man, who we will call David, was aged 49 at the time of the collision and worked as a HGV driver for Hermes. He was out walking with two of his children in Bradford during the beginning of the first lockdown in April 2020.
David was walking on the pavement when a car lost control and drove at them at speed. Fortunately, the car did not hit David’s two children, however, it drove into David and trapped him between the car and a parked car and dragged him along. Although his children avoided physical injury, they have suffered psychological injuries because of the collision and seeing their dad injured so horrifically.
The driver was a 16-year-old who had purchased a car on Facebook and driven it without a licence or insurance.
David was taken to Leeds General Hospital. He had sustained severe bilateral lower limb injuries leading to trans-femoral (above the knee) amputation of the right leg and nerve and tissue damage to his left leg. He was in hospital for three months until 7 July 2020.
On discharge from hospital, David instructed the personal injury department at law firm Leigh Day to bring his claim.
Within the first few months following instruction, the specialist team at Leigh Day initiated the claim to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) as the driver responsible was uninsured.
Once the claim was initiated a specialist amputee case manager carried out an initial assessment of David and was instructed to work with him and his family, liaising with the Hospital and discharge team.
Funding was agreed with the MIB for David to commence private prosthetic rehabilitation at Blatchford Clinic and inpatient stays at STEPS Rehabilitation to maximise early rehabilitation. Further interim funding was obtained for David from the MIB to provide funds for lost earnings and other expenses.
An occupational therapy assessment was carried out and identified that David’s current home was unsuitable for his needs. A property finder was instructed to assist in locating a potentially suitable rental home. When it was not possible to identify a suitable rental property, preliminary expert reports were obtained, and a significant interim payment requested for a home to be purchased and adapted to provide for his long-term needs. The MIB agreed to pay a significant six-figure interim payment 11 months after the collision.
To compound the family’s distress, the driver was supposed to be charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, but the CPS lawyer read out the wrong charges at the hearing and he was only charged and convicted of careless driving. The family complained to the CPS but nothing could be done.
David, now aged 52, still lives in Bradford. His prosthetic rehabilitation is proceeding well and he has been provided with a RHEO microprocessor-controlled knee, which has improved his mobility. He has been able to purchase an adapted wheelchair accessible vehicle which has increased his independence. He has purchased a new home and is working with disability specialist architects to have this adapted for his needs and he hopes to move in in June.
The legal claim is currently ongoing.
“When I was discharged from hospital I was suddenly faced with the impact of my injuries and how they would change my life. I was facing an enormous amount of recovery and change, it felt scary and overwhelming.
“Whilst I was in Leeds Hospital, they gave me a leaflet for Day One. At the time I couldn't focus on anything so put it away. Once home I began to think more clearly about my situation.
“Prior to my discharge a family member on my behalf, contacted a solicitor for advice. He mentioned money and fees. We also had a lot of cold calls from injury solicitors, which at the time I ignored as mentally I wasn't in a position to deal with.
“This is when I contacted Day One and got a list of reputable solicitors. I contacted five solicitors and set up zoom meetings. It was really important to me that I saw the person who would potentially be representing me, I didn't want to be just another case.
“During these zoom meetings I started to realise it was more than just a figure of money, it was about rehabilitation, housing, prosthetics, care, the list went on!
“At this point I understood how easy it would be for someone, in a vulnerable state, to make quick decisions on solicitors. Day One helped me to gain access to true experts in my types of injuries and an understanding that it was more than money, it was about regaining as much of my previous life as possible.
“All the solicitors I had meetings with were experts although Leigh Day really stood out for me. I felt like they would be invested in me as a person just as much as the claim they'd be taking on. They understood the impact of my injuries and I felt they empathised with the injustice.
“I instructed Leigh Day and Laura was instructed to take my case on. Due to my injuries, I sometimes felt that I didn't have control and so I wanted to be fully involved in everything. Laura has been so understanding of this. At every stage it has been acknowledged that I am the main focus. Laura has always been approachable, at times I've just needed to ring and 'sound off' about things and she has always been available to talk things through.
“Going through this type of claim is at times very stressful and it is crucial that you have the right solicitors working for you, who go beyond paperwork and also recognise the person.”
Laura Murphy, partner in the Leigh Day personal injury team said:
“David was very severely injured in the traumatic collision in April 2020 and his life was saved by the hard work of the NHS teams. We have been able to work co-operatively with the solicitors for the MIB to gain access to early rehabilitation including private prosthetic provision and early interim payments to enable David to purchase an accessible vehicle and property, which have enhanced his mobility, independence and quality of life despite the challenges of the severe injuries he sustained. We hope to continue to work collaboratively with the MIB’s solicitors as we work towards a resolution of David’s claim.”