Doncaster Brain Injury Victim Refused Bar Service After Being Mistaken For Being Drunk

Family Want To Raise Awareness Of Impact Of Brain Injuries

22.12.2015

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A young woman who was left seriously injured in a car crash 18 months ago is seeking to raise awareness of coping with head injuries after being refused service in a Doncaster pub because bar staff mistook her brain injury for being drunk.
 
Danielle Stoton, 19, went to Doncaster with her mother Michelle at lunchtime on Saturday 19 December to meet a friend who had also suffered serious injuries in a car crash.
 
Michelle bought the first drinks at The Gatehouse Wetherspoons pub on Priory Walk, but when Danielle and the young man went to the bar, they were refused service for being ‘too drunk’.
 
Bar staff had mistaken problems with Danielle’s speech as her having had too much to drink.
 
Suffering a brain injury can result in wide ranging physical and psychological problems including slurring of speech, unsteadiness in walking and impulsive reactions. On this occasion Danielle’s frustration and short temper exacerbated the situation. Sadly when her mother, Michelle, sought to explain that Danielle had a head injury (and show her Brain Injury ID card), the group were asked to leave.
 
After Michelle shared the story on Facebook it was shared more than 3,300 times with over 500 messages of support from members of the public.
 
The expert serious injury team at Irwin Mitchell has been working with Danielle and her family since the incident to help her access rehabilitation to aid her recovery and achieve the best possible outcome following her brain injury.

Caroline Mitchell, a specialist brain injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell said that sadly it is not uncommon for those with a brain injury to be mistaken for being drunk because of the way they walk and / or speak. Headway, the Brain Injury Association suggest that brain injury survivors carry a Brain Injury Survivors ID card to raise awareness of brain injury but unfortunately showing this did not appear to help.
 
Now the family wants to help educate people about the effects of brain injury and how it can affect people in every aspect of their everyday functioning.
 
Michelle Stoton, 42, from Armthorpe, said: “It was a huge step for Danielle to feel able to go to a busy bar and order drinks. It was a reflection of her growing confidence and a big step in her recovery but what happened has been a nightmare and reinforced how difficult it is for her to do something as simple as ordering a drink.
 
“My daughter had made amazing progress and is really determined to live independently and come back stronger but this has just been a real setback for her.
 
“We want to make sure people know about the symptoms of brain injury and educate people as to how to help deal with them. Danielle carries an ID card from the charity Headway to show she has a brain injury and despite showing this to the bar staff we still had a problem.
 
“We want to make sure everyone knows about this incident so that it raises awareness of brain injury and the consequences of brain injury. Survivors of brain injury need the support of society to help them move on with their lives.”

Expert Opinion
“Having a brain injury can result in victims not being able to complete simple everyday tasks that others take for granted. It is important for their recovery that they are encouraged to relearn skills and to live as independently as possible. What has happened will be a blow to Danielle’s confidence but hopefully she will now bounce back, staff at the pub will learn from this and others will take note to prevent similar situations occurring in future.

“Danielle has already amazed doctors and therapists with her recovery so far and has a great support network around, especially her family. We will continue to support her with her rehabilitation and encourage her to get her life back on track.”
Caroline Mitchell, Associate

Danielle suffered life-changing injuries in a hit-and-run in Armthorpe, Doncaster, in August 2014. The driver responsible was eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in prison and a two-year driving ban in May earlier this year.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in brain injury claims.