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Man Receives Compensation After Road Traffic Accident Results in Severe Injuries

A man has received a substantial sum in compensation after he suffered a serious brain injury in a road traffic collision.

Mr S, a 34 year old father of two, was driving down a busy unlit A road in the early hours of the morning in August 2008.  Upon seeing some Police vehicles on the road, he slowed his car in case of any hazards on the road.  Having passed the Police cars without incident, Mr S then began to gather speed as he continued on his journey.  Suddenly from the darkness a black coloured cow ran towards his car on his side of the road.  There was only a brief moment between seeing the cow and the impact occurring, leaving Mr S no time to brake or steer his car to avoid the collision.

The impact of the cow colliding with the car was severe.  The cow was killed and Mr S suffered a catastrophic brain injury.  Mr S was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where he was treated for his life threatening injuries.

After over a year as an inpatient in hospital and at a brain injury rehabilitation unit, Mr S returned home to live with his partner.  He continues to suffer from severe memory problems, difficulties with organisation and planning, as well as behavioural problems.  He has ongoing tinnitus (ringing in his ears) and problems with his sight.  Mr S requires constant supervision and prompting and is no longer able to live independently.  His relationship with his children has also changed dramatically, as he is no longer able to provide the same parenting role due to his ongoing difficulties.

Mr S’s family approached the specialist Serious Injuries Team at Irwin Mitchell a few weeks after the accident in order to see whether there was a potential personal injury claim.  The Irwin Mitchell in-house Collision Investigation Unit were instructed at an early stage to undertake visits to the scene of the collision in order to obtain key information and data that assisted the legal team in their investigations into the accident circumstances.  Due to the nature of MR S’s injuries, he had no recollection of the accident, which meant that obtaining evidence from external sources and witnesses was even more important.  Through these investigations, it became clear that the cow had escaped from a nearby farmer’s field. 

The Defendant farmer firmly denied any liability for the accident, asserting that someone must have left the gates open.  Proceedings were therefore commenced against the Farmer alleging that he was negligent in failing to secure his cattle. 

Liability continued to be disputed.  An expert in farming practice was instructed to look into the accident circumstances and provide an opinion as to the most likely cause for the cow escaping.  The evidence pointed to the cow having got through two open gates allowing it to roam the highway.  Irwin Mitchell contended that the use of a simple padlock, to secure a rarely used gate, at very little cost, would have prevented the accident from occurring. Shortly before the case was due to go to trial to consider the issue of whether the farmer was liable for the accident, the case settled through negotiation. 

Mr S’s compensation will aid his rehabilitation and pay for his ongoing care and therapy needs.  Due to the severity of his head injury, he will require the assistance of the Court of Protection to administer these funds for him. 

Bethany Sanders of Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Serious Injuries Team said, “This was particularly complex case that would have been turned down by most other firms.

“We were able to use our in-house Collisions Investigations Unit, our specialist expertise in serious injury cases as well as our experience in negotiation, in order to bring our client’s claim to a successful conclusion.”

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