Victim’s Wife Calls For Motorists To Take Extra Care On Roads
The wife of a professional tennis coach who was catastrophically injured when he was thrown from his bike by a Land Rover today made a heartfelt plea to all motorists to take extra care to protect other road users after he was awarded more than £4m at the High Court to fund his future rehabilitation and care.
The Land Rover driver initially fled the scene of the accident in November 2009, but was jailed for eight months after admitting dangerous driving in October 2010, claiming he didn’t see 55-year-old Patrice Gougam.
Mr Gougam required hospital treatment for 21 months after the near fatal accident and now requires 24/7 care due to being left tetraplegic, requires feeding through a tube and is wheelchair dependant.
His dedicated wife Virginia Gougam said that they could now look to move forward with their lives knowing that he would receive the very best quality of care after winning their battle for justice with the help of serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell.
The High Court today awarded Mr Gougam £4m against the drivers RTA Insurer and the driver concerned.
Lawyers acting for the family said the funds mean he will be able to live as decent a life as possible in spite of his devastating injuries at the couple’s new, specially adapted home in High Barnet, London.
Patrice suffered a very severe traumatic brain injury after a Land Rover ploughed into him as he cycled along the A100 on 12th November 2009. He was in a coma for three weeks and remained at The National Hospital in London for over six months before being moved to two specialist rehabilitation units and was eventually discharged, 21 months after the accident.
Since leaving hospital Patrice has required two carers around the clock, which initially saw Mrs Gougam performing as one of them, due to lack of space and facilities in the couple’s home.
Under the obvious strain of this and holding down a part time job she battled to find an alternative home with disabled access so they could remain living together and have the space required for themselves and carers to stay.
Stephanie Clarke, Serious Injury Expert at Irwin Mitchell said: “We are delighted with the result handed down here at Court and the settlement which has been carefully structured to make sure Mr Gougam has enough money to ensure he has access to the very best, specialist, 24-hour care and support he will now need for the rest of his life.
“This was a tragic, wholly avoidable incident which has devastated not only Patrice’s life but that of his wife who has spent the last two years dedicated to ensuring he receives the best possible care.”
Speaking on behalf of the Gougam family following the hearing, Stephanie said: “More than two years since the near fatal accident Mrs Gougam struggles to face each day, and the many challenges of caring for her husband and planning for his future.
“However, she is extremely grateful to those who have helped her through this very difficult time as she prepares to rebuild a life for herself, and Mr Gougam.”
“Mrs Gougam would first like to thank the Emergency Services and Hertfordshire Constabulary who were outstanding immediately after the crash and in the weeks that followed; as well as the incredible A&E crash team at Barnet General Hospital who had to make some difficult decisions that night. The staff at The National Hospital, Queen Square and later at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow and the staff at the Marie Foster specialist care unit in Barnet and at Edgware General Hospital.
“She would also like to say a very special thanks to the legal team at Irwin Mitchell who consistently performed beyond the call of duty to see her through a most trying two years and ensuring that Mr Gougam has access to the funds he needs to guarantee him the very best rehabilitation and 24-hour care which he will need for the rest of his life.
“Finally to her family, in particular her brother in law Simon Davies who acted in the litigation and friends that have provided her with the love support and strength to get her this far and in securing her husband’s future care.”
Stephanie went on to say: “Patrice Gougam was a keen cyclist and was passionate about his sport.
“”She dearly wishes other motorists to be more aware and patient of cyclists on London's busy roads so as to reduce the increasing number of tragic news stories covering both fatalities and life changing injuries sustained by pedal cyclists in and around the capital.”
The High Court Judge praised Mrs Gougam in his judgement for the “extraordinary care, love and support for her husband and her determination to do everything she could for his care and rehabilitation”.