Promising Student Suffered Life Changing Injuries After Being Hit By Careless Driver

Serious Injury Expert Praises Dedication Of Supportive Family

23.01.2013

The parents of a trainee commercial pilot who suffered life changing head injuries when a speeding car ploughed into him while he was crossing the road have spoken of their relief after the driver, today (23 January), was found fully responsible.

‘Gifted’ Edward Buckley remained in a coma for several weeks after he was struck as he was walking back to his university house in Leeds almost a year to the day, on 21 January last year. He suffered a catastrophic head injury and multiple fractures.

Rizwan Ali pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention in August last year but Magistrates in Leeds today also found him guilty of driving without insurance and guilty of plying for hire.

Edward, now 21, was knocked down in Headingley by Ali who had picked up a group of four men from a nightclub in town to take them to their student accommodation. Ali said that he had told the men that that the taxi was pre-booked and that they jumped into his cab against his instructions, but Magistrates found this not to be the case.

He received nine penalty points on his licence for driving without due care and attention and was fined £255 for the offences, ordered to pay £400 in costs and a £15.00 victim surcharge.

Edward’s family praised the fast response of the emergency services which meant he was in the city’s neurological intensive care unit within five minutes of the incident, which ultimately saved his life.

A year on, Edward has defied medics who said he would never walk or talk again by taking his first steps 10 months after the collision following intensive rehabilitation and is beginning to communicate with his proud family.

But it is unlikely he will ever be fully independent or able to work and his parents Caroline and Matthew and three sisters, Emily, Amy and Alice, who live in Welwyn Garden City, have contacted serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell in a bid to secure the lifelong care and rehabilitation package Edward will need to make the best possible recovery.

They have been granted permission by their local council to build an extension to their home so they can care for Edward when he is fit enough to be moved from Northwick Park Hospital in North West London, where he was transferred some weeks after the crash to give him a greater chance of recovery.

Mum Caroline, a nurse at Queen Elizabeth ll Hospital, said: “It has been very difficult waiting for the trial and justice for Edward but we are pleased with the outcome today.

“Edward was a happy, bright and gifted young man and it’s very hard to come to terms with the fact that he is unlikely to ever be the same person again. He was always very ambitious and we had no doubt he would complete his studies and became a successful pilot.

“We’ve had such a fantastic amount of support from people since Edward was hurt and that has helped to lift our spirits. We were initially told it was unlikely he would ever walk or talk again which was incredibly difficult to come to terms with. But his recovery so far has amazed us and his doctors, so we are more positive about his future; however we know he will always need help from carers.

“We’re determined that as soon as Edward is well enough, we will get him transferred home where he can be cared for in his own private annexe so he has the best possible chance of a reasonable quality of life.”

Colin Ettinger, a Partner and serious injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office is representing the Buckley’s. He said: “Edward has suffered devastating injuries as a result of Ali’s careless driving and I am pleased and relieved for his family that the driver has been found guilty of serious wrong-doing.

“Edward was a very promising student and appeared destined to have a bright career ahead of him as a commercial pilot but this opportunity has been robbed from him.

“He has made a fantastic recovery so far but to ensure Edward has the best possible quality of life he will need extensive support. We are sure that the excellent medical team at the rehabilitation unit at Northwood Park have maximised Edward's rehabilitation prospects. But it will be necessary to work with the defendant’s insurance company to seek funds to be able to provide this for him for life

“The injuries he sustained will have a huge impact on him and his family for the rest of their lives but they have already put in place plans and arrangements to dedicate their lives to him which is testament to the supportive family unit they are. We will work to ensure they have all the funds and facilities needed to provide this.”