Road traffic accident
The mother of a teenage girl who suffered brain damage after being knocked down by a learner driver has revealed the devastating impact the incident is still having on their family two years on.
Linda Green says any motorist would think more carefully about how they behave on the road if they knew about the devastating effect the crash had on her daughter Megan.
The 17-year-old, from Lofthouse in Wakefield, spent six months in hospital having been hit as she crossed the A61 Leeds Road near her home.
She needed brain surgery to remove a blood clot and then had a titanium plate fitted into her skull following the collision on December 9, 2006.
Initially Megan was unable to feed and care for herself but after months of rehabilitation she was able to leave hospital. However she now suffers from problems with her balance and memory as well as behavioural difficulties.
Linda, who has instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to pursue legal action to help fund Megan's treatment, said: "I'll never forget the day Megan got injured. The horror of finding out she'd been knocked down will stay with me forever as will dealing with the long term impact of her injuries.
"My partner rang to say a girl had been knocked down. He went to find out who it was and when I was waiting I just had a terrible feeling it was Megan.
"She was on the way to see her cousin when the car hit her – she flew into the air and hit her head badly when she landed.
"When we got to the hospital I could see the paramedics standing over her in the ambulance and then I was whizzed away into a room. It's nearly two years ago now but I can still remember it all like it was yesterday. It was awful.
"It is strange to think it is nearly exactly two years since it happened. At times it has gone quickly with so much happening but on the other hand it has felt like longer because Megan's recovery is so gradual.
"She fights every day to try and make her life as normal as possible but it is really difficult for her because of the problems she has with fatigue, co-ordination and speech. It’s all linked to the accident.
"There are also issues related to her short temper and she gets quite moody and anxious very easily. Her whole personality is totally different.
"She is still quite bright but she used to be top of her maths and English set. She had just started her mock GCSE exams when she got knocked down and then, of course, she was still in hospital when the real things came about."
Megan was more than halfway across Leeds Road, near Robin Hood Primary School when she was hit by the car.
The driver, who was travelling alone despite only being a provisional licence holder, claimed to have been blinded by the low winter sun. He did not see Megan until it was too late to avoid hitting her.
He was fined and given six penalty points after admitting driving otherwise than in accordance with his licence.
Irwin Mitchell partner and leading head and spinal cord injury lawyer Jane Horton, said: "People often think road safety relates only to cutting people's speed or eliminating erratic driving but, while these are crucial, this case shows that there are many other potential hazards that drivers must be aware of and guard against.
"People should never underestimate the impact something like this can have and it has been a very difficult two years for Megan, Linda and the whole family.
"They know they will spend the rest of their lives trying to overcome the after-effects of the collision but I know they are determined to do just that."
Ms Green, aged 47, added: "I just hope the message gets through to drivers about what kind of effect this has had on us and they take more care because I know all too well the kind of heartache involved."