Ainsley’s life was changed forever when he suffered a spinal cord injury during a car accident. Our Serious Injury Claims solicitors have turned Ainsley’s confusion into confidence by helping him claim compensation, so he can access support for his recovery.
At twenty-one years old, Ainsley had just started a degree in Wolverhampton, studying Architectural and Property Development. He was just settling in at university and looking forward to getting stuck into his work.
Then, he was involved in a road traffic collision.
When he learned he’d need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Ainsley was keen to seek legal advice to learn what help was available. Headed by Partner Cathy Leech, our team explored Ainsley’s options with him and helped to claim compensation to get the best medical care and rehabilitation.
It was a normal Sunday when the incident happened. Ainsley was enjoying a relaxed Sunday dinner with his family, when a friend unexpectedly asked him to go out. Three hours later, he was a passenger in a car driving down a country lane, which slipped off the road into a ditch in a farmer’s field. The car rolled and the roof collapsed, damaging Ainsley’s spinal cord.
He woke up in critical care the following day, numb and confused. Discovering that he would never walk again was overwhelming. He recalls the initial conversations with his family and partner, Lauren: “The first conversations that we had were a lot of reassurances that everything was going to be okay. There were a lot of heartfelt conversations, a lot of tears, some frustrations and a lot of actions taking place.”
But for Ainsley, it was a scary time. He remembers leaving the hospital as his lowest point. The busy hospital had been a welcome distraction but once home, he felt angry and despondent as the reality of his injury began to set in.
While Ainsley was in critical care, a Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) member visited and advised about taking legal action after his injury. With no experience of law, it was important to find someone who could clearly explain what he needed to know and how to proceed.
Ainsley and his family researched their options and chose to contact Irwin Mitchell. Cathy Leech, a partner from our Manchester office, visited Ainsley in hospital to discuss his situation.
After listening to his story, Cathy talked Ainsley through the legal options available and how the case might look. She also explained how taking action could get him the answers he needed for closure. A financial settlement would help him move forward towards recovery, by funding access to physiotherapy or adaptive equipment.
Being able to understand the options for his future and what he needed to do next was a relief for Ainsley and his family and gave them direction.
“If I needed to speak to somebody for mental health reasons, Cathy was always on hand. Not just for me, but my family as well. All the way through the case, she explained step by step what was taking place in a way that I could understand,” says Ainsley.
Settling The Case
Ainsley’s case went on for three years, an anxious wait for him and his family. In that time, our team secured interim payments to fund his therapy and access support while we negotiated his final compensation sum.
Hearing that we’d completed his compensation claim in 2019 was an enormous weight off Ainsley’s shoulders. His future is now much more secure, with the compensation opening up more opportunities for him. He can access the equipment needed to regain his independence.
Ainsley felt grateful for the support he received from our team, and confident in their dedication to his case. “If I needed anything, I could always pick up the phone and speak to the team. I was never sitting around panicking, the lines of communication were top notch. It was unbelievable.”
Protecting Ainsley’s Future
After securing his settlement, Ainsley began talking with Philip Goldthorp, who has over 25 years’ experience as a financial planning expert. Together they made sure Ainsley’s compensation would be protected and could be used to support his needs both now and in the future. That relationship and the support of his investment management team continues today.
“When you have a life-changing injury, it makes you look at life at things in a different light,” Ainsley says. “Irwin Mitchell helped me look forward to brighter days ahead and their financial planning team are making sure that whatever happens, I have the support I need.”
They have helped Ainsley finance and build his first adapted property with his fiancée. They’re both very excited to make it their own, and tailor it exactly as they need. “It’s going to make a huge difference in both our lives,” says Ainsley.
“It’s about having experts who you can trust, because they care about you and your situation” says Ainsley. “Whether it’s continuing my rehabilitation, going travelling or reacting to change, they help me focus on myself, my partner and my future knowing my finances are protected.
The year after his accident, Ainsley took up adaptive rowing at Pengwern Boat Club in Shrewsbury. Inspired by the freedom and confidence it gave him, the club now has two boats for disabled rowers. A member has also gone on to invent equipment to make rowing more accessible.
Lauren’s support and reassurance was vital during Ainsley’s recovery. Now, after a delay due to COVID-19, they’re counting down the last few months until their marriage in Portugal.
“It’ll mark a huge milestone in our relationship, from where it began to where we are now. So much has happened in that space of time and soon, we’ll be onto a new chapter. We’re both really looking forward to it,” says Ainsley. They’ll also be sharing their next chapter with two additions: their new puppies, Chewy and Pumbaa.
Above all, Ainsley feels grateful for where he is today. “What makes me happy is getting up in the morning, going outside and experiencing the opportunities I’ve been given.
“Even if there are other problems and struggles along the way, I feel like what I’ve overcome has given me skills to take forward that’ll help me overcome other challenges. I’m positive that in the future, everything will be okay.”
Learn more about how our solicitors can help with spinal cord injury claims or call today on 0370 1500 100 to speak to an advisor.
Meet Phil Goldthorp
Meet Cathy Leech