At just 20 years old, a road traffic accident left Rosie tetraplegic, or paralysed in both her arms and legs. Our serious injury solicitors have helped Rosie claim the compensation needed to turn her fear into determination.
Rosie’s family and friends have always loved her passion and enthusiasm. Growing up, she loved school and practicing karate and when she went to York to study a degree in History, she embraced university too. Rosie enjoyed studying and living with the friends she met in York, and going to clubs and gigs with her old school friends when she came home.
It was on a visit home from university that her life changed forever. After a road traffic accident left Rosie paralysed in all four limbs, her father contacted Irwin Mitchell to find out what we could do to help her.
Our team helped secure the compensation which has paid for Rosie’s physiotherapy and adapted living. This, combined with her positive attitude and determination, has seen her continued recovery and increased self-confidence.
It was three days before Christmas in 2009 and Rosie was home from university. Her then-boyfriend was driving Rosie through Derbyshire when the car went onto the wrong side of the road, collided with an embankment and flipped. It took fire-fighters more than half an hour to cut her free. She then spent 12 days in intensive care over Christmas, the beginning of a nine-month hospital stay as she recovered from catastrophic injuries.
Rosie soon understood that she would have to learn how to live differently. One of the biggest challenges was learning how to speak again. After being in hospital for a few weeks, she developed a chest infection and had a tracheal tube fitted to help her breathe. For two weeks, she was unable to speak.
“That felt very isolating, being stuck in a bed unable to move and or speak. I really relied on music playlists that my friends had made me,” Rosie recalls. “When I was able to have the tube removed, I was so excited to be able to speak to my friends again. Being able to use my arms, sing, use a touch screen phone, or use adapted pens to write - those things were on the list of stuff that I had to relearn.”
Once Rosie was discharged from hospital, her family moved into rented accommodation. While it was a relief to be reunited, the family struggled to adapt to 24-hour care in a bungalow that wasn’t suitable for Rosie’s needs.
After speaking to some members of staff on the Spinal Injuries Unit, Rosie’s father first contacted Irwin Mitchell while she was still in hospital. He’d heard about other seriously injured clients receiving great advice from our solicitors, and was keen to find out what we could do to support Rosie’s recovery.
Rosie remembers the understanding and empathy we showed her in the early days following her injury. At the time, she and her family were still in shock and struggling to comprehend what would happen next. “The initial conversations really helped to guide us. They advised on things like physiotherapy and occupational therapy to give me the best chance at rehabilitation,” Rosie says.
While the case was underway, our serious injury claims team helped to secure interim payments for Rosie. This paid for her 24-hour care and physiotherapy sessions, which she attended three times a week. Rosie believes that, combined with the cost of adapted accommodation, it would’ve been impossible for her family to have paid for her treatment without the payments.
“It would’ve put my rehab, my recovery, and my whole life completely on hold if we’d not had access to the interim payments. It would’ve definitely been a big setback in what I was able to go onto in the future,” says Rosie.
It took nearly four years to settle Rosie’s case, but in 2013, we negotiated a lifelong compensation package covering 24-hour care and vital rehabilitation. It came as an enormous relief to know that she’d never have to worry about the cost of her treatment again.
“Continuing rehabilitation is one of the most important things to me. I continue to have physio sessions twice a week, every week. I’m really grateful, really pleased, that the financial side of it doesn’t have to hold me back at all,” Rosie says.
Associate solicitor Stacy Clements has worked closely with Rosie from the beginning of her claim. Rosie emphasises the dedication and support Stacy has shown her over the past ten years. “She’s always so hard working and so conscientious. We just get along really well and even since the case has settled, we speak regularly and she always checks up on me.
“The support that Irwin Mitchell has given me has definitely had the human touch because it’s always felt very natural when working together. They’ve always taken my needs into account, making sure that I can easily access any meetings that we have and the timing is suitable for me. It’s always a really lovely experience with all their employees.”
Managing Her Assets
After securing her settlement, Rosie found her referral to our Asset Management services very useful. Over the past ten years, serious injury specialists from the Financial Planning team have worked with her to make sure she’s able to continue her rehabilitation.
“When you have a life-changing injury, your needs and priorities change,” Rosie says. “Irwin Mitchell has given me guidance and support, ensuring my finances are looked after and invested, to benefit me now and in the future.”
She was grateful to have support from advisors who knew her case and had a thorough understanding of spinal cord injuries. Working closely together with the Spinal Injuries Association, our team have ensured Rosie feels comfortable, confident and in control of her choices at each stage.
Our team also helped Rosie to achieve a career goal by managing her finances during a project to refurbish a villa in La Manga. She’s now proud to own the only property at the resort which is suitable for wheelchair users.
“I have a passion for travel and love warm climates,” says Rosie. “I refurbished the villa in 2016 and supervised the design and adaptation to provide first-class accommodation for both disabled and able-bodied users.”
The Future’s Bright
Rosie’s fantastic attitude has seen her go from strength to strength since beginning her rehabilitation. She treats rehabilitation as small milestones and remembers being able to sign her own name again as one of her happiest moments. For her, it was a signifier of being able to give consent again and gain back control over her life – a big driver of her recovery.
She looks back over many happy moments from the past ten years. She still loves attending gigs with her friends, and even went to Leeds Festival before she’d been discharged from hospital. “My friends and family have always been there to keep my spirits up and keep me motivated. They know me and the life I lived before my injury, and they also know I’m just the same person now – the only difference is in my abilities.”
Rosie’s currently waiting for work to finish on a house that’s being built around her needs, so soon she’ll be able to move into her own house. She’ll be accompanied by her boisterous golden doodle Daisy, who she credits with keeping her active and helping her socialise.
“It’s nice to reflect on how much more confident I feel now. There’s been such a big change and I feel a lot more like I can enjoy things and be in people’s company and be seen without feeling like I’m so shy anymore. It’s great to feel much more confident than I did at first.”
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, our serious injury solicitors may be able to help. Speak to our friendly team to learn more – call today on 0370 1500 100.