We recently concluded a claim on behalf of a 55 year old client who was injured whilst a pillion passenger on a motorbike being driven by her husband. The circumstances of the accident are all too common on roads up and down the country. Our client and her husband were proceeding along a main road. A car exited form a side road directly into their path. There was insufficient time for our client’s husband to take evasive action and the impact resulted in both husband and wife being thrown off the bike and onto the road. Sadly, as a result of the accident our client’s husband sustained fatal injuries.
In addition to losing her husband, our client sustained significant injuries. She suffered fractures to the tibia and fibula of both legs. She also sustained fractures to her hip and lower back, together with a rupture of her bladder. She required to be operated on, on several occasions and had a lengthy hospital stay with a significant period of rehabilitation. Our client has been left with ongoing physical restrictions that will be permanent.
As a consequence of her injuries our client was unable to return to her work and the evidence indicated that she may never return to any form of employment. She has suffered a loss of earnings and loss of pension as a result.
In this complicated case we required to establish liability for the accident as quickly as possible which can often be difficult in a fatal case where Police investigations are necessary. Once the issue of liability was resolved in our client’s favour, we were able to make arrangements for our client to be visited by a rehabilitation team to consider what her immediate needs were and seek agreement from the third-party insurers regarding funding of this essential treatment. All rehabilitation costs were met by the insurers of the responsible party and aided our client in her recovery.
We required to instruct various experts, including a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, a Consultant Urologist, an Employment Expert, a Pension Expert and a Consultant Psychologist to examine our client with a view to preparing reports.
In addition to being able to make a claim in respect of her own injuries, our client was also entitled to make a claim for Loss of Society which provides monetary compensation for the fact that he husband had been taken away earlier than he should have been. She also claimed for loss of support, which is based on a percentage (normally 75%) of her husband’s projected earnings had the accident not occurred.
In a case like this, where the impact was life changing, it was vitally important to build a rapport with our client, and guide her through the whole process. We were able to do this through our sensitive handling of the case and by maintaining regular contact with her.
Complex and fatal cases will generally not be resolved within a few months. It is important that all of the necessary evidence is obtained to substantiate the value of the client’s claim. This particular case took just over 3 years to settle from the date of the accident. However we secured several interim payments for our client throughout this period to ease any financial burden.
We required to raise a court action in the Court of Session on behalf of our client, with input from Counsel (an Advocate). Before the case required to be heard in court, and following negotiations with the opposing solicitors, our client’s claim settled with her receiving in excess of £800,000.
Clearly, our client will continue to suffer from the physical and emotional effects of the accident for many years but at least the settlement we achieved on her behalf will provide her with long term financial security.