Irwin Mitchell Seeking To Secure Funds For Lifetime Of Care And Rehabilitation After Victim Suffers Serious Brain Injury
Law firm Irwin Mitchell is urging road users to take more responsibility after a driver was found guilty of careless driving in an incident in South Tyneside which left a lollipop lady hospitalised for 11 months with a serious brain injury.
Eleanor Harman, 59, from South Shields, was left unconscious and lying in a pool of blood on Beach Road in the town when she was struck by a driver as she assisted a woman with a pram across the busy street. She was rushed to hospital and treated for severe head injuries.
Mrs Boyles was found guilty of driving without due care and attention and was fined £95, and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge £15 and costs of £500. Her licence was endorsed with 4 penalty points.
Her husband, Harry, 70, has now asked serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to help with legal action to seek funds to provide Eleanor with a full package of lifetime care and rehabilitation, necessary due to the severity of Eleanor’s injuries.
Eleanor was hospitalised for 11 months as a result of the crash, and continues to suffer from major cognitive problems, including significant memory loss and disorientation.
The defendant Margaret Boyles, 69, of Fox Avenue, South Shields, told police that as she travelled down the road on 2 February 2011she became blinded by the sun, but continued to drive at 25mph to 30mph despite not being able to see. Another driver at the time had slowed to just 10mph because of the poor visibility.
John Davis, a Partner in the serious injury team at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said: “Clearly the driver of the car knew of the dangers of travelling with extremely poor visibility and driving at speed, but continued to do so regardless of the possible repercussions of her actions”.
“Eleanor has gone through significant rehabilitation with the NHS, but we are seeking a full lifetime package of care so that she and Harry can have some semblance of a normal and comfortable life.
“Time and time again we see lives wrecked by people not adhering to the rules of the road. Eleanor was wearing full high-visibility uniform and was carrying her lollipop stick but the driver continued to drive at speed despite being unable to see properly in the conditions.
“Justice has been served in this case, and thankfully Eleanor is still will us, but hopefully this case will be a wake up call for others who risk the safety of others by taking a casual and often reckless attitude to driving.”
The court heard how Jessica Martin, a trainee teacher at Westoe Crown Primary School, was in the car ahead of Eleanor. Jessica told magistrates that as she pulled out into Beach Road, the sun caused her to stop her car to lower her visor.
Jessica then proceeded down the road at 10mph, with Eleanor only becoming visible when she was around 12 feet away. She pulled over once she had passed Eleanor to warn her of the poor visibility for drivers but as she stopped she saw the accident take place in her car’s rear view mirror.
Eleanor was rushed to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she remained unconscious for two days in the hospital’s intensive care unit. After leaving the ward, she was transferred across the city to the Walkergate Park Centre for Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry, where she remained until Christmas.
Harry Harman said: “This was a very tragic incident, and has continues to cause considerable stress to us on a daily basis. Eleanor suffered extremely serious injuries, and didn’t even know why she was in hospital for the first six months.
“She will never again be able to live completely independently as a result of someone else’s actions, and our lives will never be the same.
“I just hope this story highlights the need for more care on the roads so that others don’t have to experience what we have gone through.”