Young Mum Speaks Out During Road Victims Month To Raise Awareness Of Road Safety
By Helen MacGregor
A young mum from Leeds, who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash caused by a driver travelling on the wrong side of the road, has spoken of her ordeal to mark 'National Road Victims Month' in the hope it reminds motorists about the importance of careful driving.
Kayleigh McCarthy, from Morley, was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary following the accident on 19 May 2007 where she was treated for a number of life-threatening injuries, including a brain injury, ruptured spleen, bruising to her lungs and a fractured pelvis.
The young mum, who lives with her partner and 18-month-old daughter Lexi-Grace, is finally looking forward to moving on with her life after expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured her a £2.6 million settlement, which is being managed by the firm’s Court of Protection team, to ensure her future care and rehabilitation needs are taken care of.
Kayleigh is speaking out for the first time as the country marks National Road Victims Month in August, led by the charity RoadPeace to remember all those killed or injured on the roads.
At the time of the accident Kayleigh, who was travelling as a back-seat passenger, was just 18-years-old and working as a bank clerk. She was in a coma for a number of days and was eventually discharged from hospital four months later. Interim payments were secured by Irwin Mitchell to help her get the support she needed throughout.
She returned to work in May 2008, but was unable to cope with her job and eventually had to resign. Kayleigh now needs ongoing support from a support worker and a case manager to help her with her daily tasks.
The 24-year-old said: “The last six years have been the most horrific and challenging of my life and at times, I didn’t think I would get through it. It’s frightening to think about the injuries I suffered now but I’m proud of the way I’ve battled back.
“My family, friends and support workers have been brilliant and their support has been so important in my recovery. It’s a huge relief that the settlement has been agreed and that I can continue to have the support I need.
“Sadly, other road accident victims are less fortunate than me and I hope Road Victims Month acts as a reminder to all drivers about the importance of careful driving.
“Hopefully my case will also show the devastating impact road accidents can have, not just on victims like me, but on whole families. My parents had to give up their successful business in Spain to look after me in the months after the accident and sacrificed so much.”
Kayleigh’s dad, Peter, also said it’s a huge relief that Kayleigh now has the funds to pay for the care she needs in the future and that he and his wife Joanne can now re-establish their role as parents rather than carers for their daughter.
He added: “It has been incredibly difficult to come to terms with what happened to Kayleigh and the effect it’s had on her life. Without the help we’ve had from the team at Irwin Mitchell, I don’t think we would have been able to get through it. They were dedicated to ensuring she got the care package and justice she deserved and were always there to support us.”
Carolyn Heaton, a Partner and serious injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, who acted for Kayleigh, said: “At Irwin Mitchell, we see too often the devastating consequences road collisions can have on people’s lives and Kayleigh’s injuries were particularly profound.
“Despite the challenges she has faced in the past five years, Kayleigh has shown remarkable strength and determination and has made really positive steps in her recovery.
“However, given the severity of her injuries, she will require support to help with her everyday needs so it’s a relief for her, and her family, that they now have the funds to pay for the help she needs and that she is now financially secure.
“We have long supported RoadPeace and the fantastic work it does in helping families who have lost loved ones or victims of road traffic accidents and National Road Victims Month is a time for all motorists to reflect on their actions and remember the potential consequences of not driving safely.”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to head injury claims