Irwin Mitchell’s serious injury solicitors secured a bespoke care and rehabilitation package for a man who suffered a severe brain injury after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle.
Our client, Abdul, was 23 years old and had come to this country from Pakistan when he was 21 to marry his wife, who was born in Britain but of Pakistani heritage. Before the accident Abdul was working full-time in a manual capacity.
Abdul and his wife had a young son and were living in a large family house in Leicester but were saving to buy their own house.
Devastating brain injury
Abdul was involved in a serious road traffic collision in June 2008 when he was riding his bicycle and was struck by a vehicle being driven at a speed in excess of 40mph.
As a consequence of the collision, Abdul suffered a devastating brain injury. His Glasgow coma score at the scene was 3/15 (the worst score possible and indicative of a very severe brain injury). He was in hospital/ inpatient rehabilitation for about five months before being discharged home.
His physical recovery was good and, at face value, he appeared reasonably well. His presentation masked considerable cognitive difficulties. He had significant memory problems, fatigue, poor attention and poor motivation. Left to his own devices, he would do nothing all day.
He wasn’t capable of leading an independent life or securing any gainful employment.
Abdul was deemed to be a protected party and unlikely to regain capacity to manage his own financial affairs or to deal with the litigation. The Court of Protection team were instructed at an early stage and a financial Deputy appointed.
Private rehabilitation and support package
We began the claim and the driver of the car admitted liability at an early stage. We secured interim funding to institute a private rehabilitation and support package. Our team worked with the Deputy to manage the interim payments throughout the duration of the claim.
There was a seamless transition from in-patient rehabilitation to rehabilitation in the community, as discussions and plans were put in place before Abdul returned home.
As Abdul found it difficult to concentrate in the busy household of his in-laws (where nine people lived), we facilitated a move into rented accommodation nearby and ultimately Abdul purchased the house using interim funds.
Abdul engaged well with rehabilitation until he was arrested in 2010 following an incident in a park which he was accused of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl. We put him in contact with a solicitor specialising in criminal matters who had a good understanding of issues relating to capacity to ensure he had appropriate representation. As Abdul was unable to recall the events, he was found unfit to plead but found guilty at a trial of the facts in 2011. He was sentenced to a one-year supervision order and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 5 years. He wasn’t permitted access to his own infant son. These events caused him to suffer depression and seriously impeded his rehabilitation.
Support through the criminal proceedings
We supported him and his family through the criminal proceedings and ensured that appropriate information was provided to the authorities. Reassurances were given about the level of support which could be provided, to ensure that the restrictions imposed on him were not too strict but that members of the public were protected.
Abdul’s self-esteem was hard hit by the loss of his cultural and familial roles as a result of his injuries. He was and still is a devout Muslim, and had previously been the provider in what was a very traditional relationship. The change of family dynamics was very hard for him and his wife to adjust to.
Despite an early admission of liability, the driver of the car that struck Abdul back-tracked, arguing that his failure to wear a cycle helmet had contributed to his injuries. We stood firm on this issue and rejected offers to settle liability on a split basis. Our tenacity paid off, as shortly before the defendant’s allegations of negligence were to be heard at trial, they conceded liability in full.
Self-esteem and stamina improved
Throughout the duration of the claim, we helped Abdul and his wife come to terms with what had happened and to maximise the benefits of a bespoke rehabilitation package which was tailored to his needs. The programme involved brain injury specialist clinicians providing input in the areas of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, neuropsychology and occupational therapy.
Abdul’s main goal was to return to work so that he could look after his family. Returning to paid employment was unrealistic but with support, he was encouraged to develop interests outside of the home and to do some voluntary work to improve his stamina and self-esteem.
He continues to live in the community with his family and although acknowledges that his life is very different to how he wanted and expected it to be, he is more accepting of his situation. His wife has also adjusted to their new circumstances and they are happy to have the security of the compensation award as it means that Abdul will be well-supported for the rest of his life.
"I can't say thank you enough"
At the conclusion of the case, his wife said: “I’m so glad a family member put me in touch with you. I’d never had contact with a solicitor before and didn’t know what to expect but you have always been approachable and supported every step of the way.
“It has been difficult adjusting to our new circumstances and realising that Abdul’s brain injury is permanent but the support you’ve provided and the people you brought in to provide rehabilitation and support to Abdul has been second to none. I can’t say thank you enough.”
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