Car Crash Victim ‘Robbed Of Independence’ Wins Legal Battle For Justice

High Court Approval Hearing Paves Way For Life Long Support And Rehabilitation Package

08.11.2012

The devoted mum of a former carpenter who suffered life-changing brain damage when his girlfriend crashed the car they were travelling in has spoken of her relief after a High Court judge today (8 November) approved an admission of liability that will pave the way for a lifelong care package.

Robert Perfect, from Colchester in Essex, has no sense of taste or smell, severe obsessive compulsive disorder, memory loss and lost his right big toe following the horrific crash in the early hours of 7 September 2008 caused by his girlfriend at the time, who was distracted by her mobile phone while driving.

The 33-year-old spent over two months in hospital after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury, a ruptured spleen, crushed lungs, fractures to his upper and lower back and fractured ribs, collarbone and cheekbone. He had to give up his career and his plans to buy a house of his own and has spent the last four years relying on his mum, dad and sister for support.

Robert’s mum, Sharon, instructed serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to help her son gain access to the rehabilitation and therapies he desperately needs. The firm has already secured interim payments to help with this and Sharon says the family can now finally look to the future after his former girlfriend’s car insurance company admitted responsibility for the devastating injuries he suffered, which was approved at the High Court in London today.

This paves the way for an expected seven-figure lifelong settlement to be agreed that will fund intensive physiotherapy and psychotherapy, allow Robert to move into his own home with support from carers, and cover his loss of earnings, as he’s had to give up his job as a carpenter.

Lauren Hurney, a serious injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Sharon, said: “This was a horrific crash that has seen a man who was in the prime of his life robbed of his independence and struggling to come to terms with the fact his life will never be the same again.

“Robert’s family have shown huge dedication, patience and love by helping him with his recovery. The accident has had a huge impact on their lives as well as his, but to give him the best possible chance of one day being able to live independently and try and build a family of his own, he needs specialist support.

“The admission of liability means we can now work to secure the settlement that will provide this level of care through rehabilitation, therapies and carers and Robert can finally look to the future.

“Robert’s injuries show the horrendous consequences that can occur by drivers getting distracted by their mobile phone and prove that the current laws to prevent drivers using them are in place for a reason.”

The crash happened when Robert’s girlfriend was driving her and Robert to her brother’s house along the A12 and reached for her mobile phone on the dashboard as it rang. She veered across the dual carriageway and lost control of the car, sending it crashing into the central reservation and rolling several times down the road.

She was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention and using a vehicle without third party insurance and fined £250, ordered to pay costs of £15 and given eight points on her licence.

A recent study by the RAC found 21 per cent of motorists have held a mobile phone while either driving or stationary at lights. 17-44 year olds are the worst offenders with 28 per cent admitting it against just 9 per cent of motorist aged 70 and over.

Robert’s mum Sharon, 59, an NHS worker, said: “The last four years have been incredibly hard as we’ve all tried to adjust to helping Robert recover from the brain injury.

“Before the accident he had everything going for him – he was doing well with his career and was saving to buy his own ‘project’ house to restore, but the car crash changed everything. He became withdrawn, angry and his OCD overcleanliness consumed him.

“It wasn’t until we received the interim payments arranged by Irwin Mitchell that Robert began to turn a corner in his recovery by finally having access to the specialist rehabilitation he desperately needed.

“We’re just so relieved we have taken the next steps in our legal battle meaning the care and support can be put in place and provided for the rest of Robert’s life, giving him some independence back and confidence to achieve his goals.

“We are so proud of how far he has come. There have been some very bad times but he’s now enrolled on a music college course and works for a community radio station one day a week which he loves – music has always been a passion of his.

“Headway Essex, a charity for victims of brain injuries and their families, has also been a huge help in providing someone to talk to and putting Robert in touch with other services that have helped with his recovery. He’s done some fantastic fund raising activities for them to say thank you.

“Nothing can turn back the clock, but we can now begin to look to the future without the worry of trying to cope on our own. I just want all drivers out there to think before they pick up their phone when driving. Taking two moments to pull over to a safe place is nothing compared to the injuries my son suffered.”