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Irwin Mitchell Secures Settlement For Grandfather Left Severely Injured By Elderly Driver

Church Deacon, 80, Left Badly Injured After Accident Outside Hospital

29.03.2016

An 80-year-old church deacon who was run over outside a hospital by an elderly driver has been awarded a significant five-figure settlement to cover his rehabilitation and care as he recovers from his injuries.

Expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured the damages for Henry Connell after he was knocked down as he stood on the pavement in the grounds of Wycombe Hospital, while waiting for his daughter to collect him following a routine eye appointment.

Mr Connell, from Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, has seven children, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and was injured after an elderly driver mistook the accelerator for the brake and lost control of his car. The driver mounted the pavement and drove into Mr Connell, before colliding with two cars and a brick wall. The passenger in the driver’s vehicle also sustained serious injury.

Mr Connell sustained severe injuries to his right leg and was rushed by ambulance to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment. The day after the accident he suffered a stroke and was later transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital and spent more than a month in hospital.

The severity of his injuries meant he required surgery to his leg – which he underwent on his 78th birthday - and he was fitted with an external frame to his leg. Due to complications, Mr Connell had to be readmitted to hospital after discharge and he underwent further surgery. 

The external frame remained on Mr Connell’s leg for five months and during this time he was bedbound and reliant upon his family for care. Due to the devastating impact the injuries had on Mr Connell’s life, he also suffered with depression.

The driver who caused the accident is believed to be aged about 80 and has since surrendered his driving licence.

Anna Pask, a specialist injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mr Connell suffered severe life-changing injuries in the accident. Before the accident Mr Connell was a church deacon at Trinity United Reformed Church in High Wycombe and both he and his wife, Linda, were extremely active members of their local community. Mr Connell particularly enjoyed gardening and holidaying with his wife, but he is unable to do these things since the accident and is now reliant upon a wheelchair.  

“I am delighted that we were able to secure damages for the pain and distress he suffered. Although the settlement cannot make up for what he has been through, the money can be used to provide additional care and rehabilitation to try and help him regain some of his independence.” 

Henry Connell said: “This accident has completely changed my life and it has been very difficult for my family, especially my wife, Linda. Before the accident I enjoyed an active retirement with a busy social life. My religion is very important to me. I used to take the church service every Sunday and Linda and I would hold prayer meetings at our house every other week. Now, when I am able to attend church I can no longer kneel to pray and I have had to give up the position of church deacon.

“Linda and I love to travel. One of our daughters lives in St Vincent, in the Caribbean, but now I don’t think I will be able to travel to visit her as I have been warned I have a high risk of developing thrombosis in my leg if I fly for a prolonged period of time.  My independence has been snatched away from me and I have been very depressed since the accident.

“The accident happened within the grounds of Wycombe Hospital, but as the hospital doesn’t have an A&E department I had to be taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment. My wife doesn’t drive and so she was completely reliant upon my children and grandchildren to drive her to visit me each day.

“I have been told the driver of the car that hit me was in his 80s and surrendered his licence shortly after the accident. While I have been told the driver is extremely remorseful about what happened, the accident has completely devastated my life and I believe there should be tougher rules in place for elderly drivers and more checks should be made to ensure it is safe for elderly drivers to continue driving, particularly those over the age of 80.”

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