Irwin Mitchell acted on behalf of a man who suffered a serious head injury when he was thrown from his bike on a roundabout due to a bus driver’s careless actions.
Tom was riding his bicycle over a roundabout in Bristol when a bus pulled out onto the roundabout without stopping and giving him right of way. He was struck by the bus and thrown from his bike, sustaining a significant head injury.
He was taken to hospital where he was assessed and his family told that there was a high possibility he might die. Thankfully, he made slow but positive steps during his time in hospital, moving from intensive care to the high dependency ward and finally to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit (BIRU) there. Whilst at the BIRU, he virtually had to learn to walk again.
Significant behavioural issues
Eventually, he was deemed fit enough to leave BIRU but it wasn’t possible for him to return home and he was moved to a placement in Cheltenham. It was at this stage he began to show significant behavioural issues and was physically and verbally aggressive. This was a pattern that was to repeat itself as he was moved from one unit to another and he was eventually moved to a specialist rehabilitation centre in Birmingham.
During his time at the centre, it was considered that Tom may need to be detained forcefully due to some of his physical and verbal outbursts.
Tom’s family contacted Irwin Mitchell’s specialist serious injury team, in order to pursue a claim on behalf of him. As part of our investigations, a medical expert instructed by us believed that Tom would in fact benefit from his own accommodation, outside of the residential care environment and away from people with similar injuries to him, as these seemed to trigger his behavioural problems.
Independent living within the community
Our dedicated team set about getting the funds to trial a period of independent living within the community. Once these were obtained, a house was located close enough to his parents and brothers in Bristol so as to allow easy visits. A care team was put in place with the benefit of a local Voyage care home, allowing staff to rotate through working with Tom over a period of time.
Tom has transformed since his move back to Bristol. He is much happier and more confident, and whilst his behavioural issues are still evident on occasion, they are much less frequent and he is more easily able to recognise and control any outbursts.
Tom’s mother, Grace, said: “Tom used to come home for visits once every two weeks while he lived in Birmingham but now we can see him whenever he wants to. He is much calmer since his move back to Bristol.
“I think Tom is as good as he is going to get now. I don’t think he will ever be who he was before and I find that very upsetting to have lost who Gareth was, he was so family orientated and such a big part of the family. He is still very important to us but it can be very hard because of his change of personality.”
Deborah Bigwood, a serious injury specialist in Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, represented Tom and his family. She said: “It is great to see these positive developments in Tom following such a life changing accident. The effect that this has had on him and his family has been significant, and I’m glad to have been able to work on this case and put positive steps in place to help Tom with his rehabilitation and returning to as a normal a life as possible under the circumstances.
“It is great that Tom is now able to spend time with his family, especially his children, whenever he wants and is not limited to when a visit home can be made.”
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