Irwin Mitchell’s serious injury solicitors helped secure a life-changing settlement for a young woman who was severely injured as a child.
Our client, a happy and cheerful two-year-old, was out with her mother when a minibus left the road, mounted the pavement and trapped her against the wall of a shop. As a result of the impact she suffered a catastrophic brain injury and doctors told her family to prepare for the worse.
Defying the odds
Despite the severity of her injuries our client defied the odds and survived but was left with a range of on-going difficulties including:
- severe behavioural problems, with frequent physical and verbal aggression
- an impaired intellect
- a range of cognitive problems such as trouble with multi-tasking, memory, attention and concentration.
We took over her claim 11 years after the accident took place. At that time the family lived in a very small rented property which meant that she had no space to carry out her hobbies. This caused considerable problems and led to severe behavioural difficulties including physical aggression which was directed at her mother and also against the actual house, resulting in several thousand pounds worth of damage.
Although she had some on-going physical difficulties, including poor balance, hearing difficulties and impaired motor skills, she didn’t need specialist adapted accommodation. Because of this her solicitors at that time were reluctant to make an application for an interim payment to buy a bigger house for her.
Her mother contacted Carolyn Heaton, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, for a second opinion. Carolyn then took over the case and secured a substantial interim payment several months later which allowed our client and her family to move to a much bigger property. Her behaviour at home improved considerably after the family moved to their new home.
Following the move, a dispute took place between the two legal teams about when the case should be settled. The minibus driver’s representatives wanted to wait for several more years, as they believed that our client would become more independent in the future and wouldn’t require 24 hour care. Our view was that whilst some progress would be made with further rehabilitation, she would never be able to live away from her family without a 24 hour care package.
In addition, we argued that delaying the date for settlement was also prejudicial to our client’s general wellbeing as she had already undergone years of assessments for her claim and was understandably anxious to move on with her life. The judge agreed with our position and confirmed that in his view the case was now ready for settlement. Within four months of that hearing, we reached a settlement.
24 hour care package
As part of her settlement, our client will receive an annual payment for her care needs (which includes a 24 hour care package when she decides to live away from her family). She also received a lump sum to cover her lifelong loss of earnings and Court of Protection fees, which will enable her to have therapies and counselling during her adult life.
Carolyn Heaton, who acted for the young lady, said: “Choosing the right solicitor is essential in catastrophic injury claims, both in terms of knowing what evidence is needed in order to win arguments over such things as housing and long term care needs, but also in knowing when the time is right to actually settle this sort of claim.”
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