Law Firm Backs Road Safety Week

Road Traffic Accident Lawyers Back BRAKE Campaign

22.11.2009

Leading personal injury lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, are backing an annual campaign by the road safety charity BRAKE to reduce accidents on the region’s roads.

The road safety charity’s annual awareness week, runs from November 23rd -29th November 2009. Hilary Wetherell, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who deals with serious injury claims involving road accident victims, said: “Sadly we continue to see too many people whose lives have been devastated as a consequence of road traffic accidents.

“Despite a combined effort by many organisations to raise awareness of road safety issues, such as the dangers of driving under the influence of drink and drugs, excessive speed or just plain disregard for other road users, the number of victims my team and I represent is sadly not declining.

“Many are fighting to re-build their lives, whilst others are left to grieve for the loss of a loved one, after being involved in catastrophic but, in many cases, highly avoidable collisions.”

Hilary is currently representing Stephen Round from Brierley Hill in the Black Country, who was involved in a road traffic collision in October 2002.  Stephen, an experienced motorcyclist, had been on his way to work when a car suddenly pulled from a side road and collided with him.

Stephen, who is now speaking publicly for the first time about the accident, hopes others will heed BRAKE’s call for greater care for other road users.

He explained: “I had ridden motorbikes for many years – it was always a real passion of mine. However, I was very cautious about riding my bike in the winter months and always made a point of mothballing it during the worst weather and would instead take my car to work.

“On the day in question, we had had an early frost and the roads were really icy. I remember my wife saying: ‘Why don’t you take the car instead?’ but as I’d planned to make this my last trip of the season anyway, I decided to take the bike to work for one last outing.

“It all happened so fast. I had just exited an island, when a car suddenly shot out of a side road and ploughed straight into me.

“I later found out from police that the driver hadn’t bothered to properly clean the windscreen and had scraped just a hole in the ice the size of a dinner plate. As a result he was unable to clearly see the road and just didn’t notice me on my bike.”

Stephen was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered multiple fractures to his wrist which has since required surgery. The crash also led to Stephen suffering psychological injuries and to this day he has been unable to face getting back onto a motorcycle, a pastime which had been a passion for so much of his life.

 “I just hope that other motorists will take note and realise that a few extra moments spent clearing your windscreen on a frosty morning, or perhaps reducing your speed a little to suit winter road conditions, can make the difference between you getting to work safely – albeit a couple of minutes late – and possibly not arriving there at all!”