Woman Instructed Serious Injury Lawyers To Help Her Access Rehabilitation
A Cambridgeshire mum-of-three who had to give up her job as a nurse after suffering brain damage in a crash has revealed she’s learned to walk again as part of her recovery – as she speaks out on Road Safety Week.
Sarah Hooper, from Gamlingay, Sandy, sustained a catalogue of serious injuries including a brain injury and multiple fractures when the driver of a Ford Transit using their mobile phone swerved into the path of her car.
Sarah was taken to hospital, where she underwent several surgeries. The 61-year-old remained in hospital for three months.
Following the crash, in January 2020, Sarah, who has had to relearn a number of basic skills including walking, instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her access the specialist therapies and rehabilitation she requires.
Sarah’s husband David, 65, also gave up his job as a Cambridge College porter to help care for her.
More than three years on, Sarah is now swimming and using the gym again. She also recently returned to horse riding with the help of a hoist initially.
She’s now joining with her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in marking Road Safety Week 2023 by speaking out on her recovery and warning others to take care on the roads. The company’s insurers also admitted liability.
Expert Opinion“It’s coming up to four years since the crash and the injuries Sarah sustained that day have had a profound impact on not just her, but also David who gave up work to look after her.
“With the help of her family, Sarah has worked hard on her rehabilitation, and we’re determined to assist her with getting her life back on track.
“From not being able to walk following the crash, she’s now returned to a lot of her hobbies including horse riding and is delighted with the progress she continues to make.
“Through our work, we too often see innocent people left facing the life-changing consequences of the actions of others. However, Sarah refuses to let her injuries stop her from living her life. She is a true inspiration.
“But as well as inspiring others, Sarah’s story is also a stark reminder to all road users to stay safe at all times.” Ruth Booy - Partner
The incident happened on 17 January 2020, when Sarah was driving along the A507 between Norton Road and the A1M.
As well as a brain injury, Sarah suffered fractures to her ribs, spine, legs, and arms. She also had a dislocated toe and damage to her teeth.
She has ongoing pain and restricted mobility and function. Additionally, she lives with fatigue, impaired memory and psychological problems including anxiety and low mood.
She requires assistance with daily living and had to give up her job as a nurse due to her injuries.
Sarah, who is cared for by David, underwent further surgery to her elbow and right foot in early 2021. She’s also benefitted from physiotherapy and occupational therapy input and works with a sports therapist and personal trainer.
As a result of her rehabilitation, Sarah is continuing to progress well with her recovery. In April this year, she drove for the first time since the crash.
Sarah and David have three children – Mark, 31, and 27-year-old twins Paul and Robyn. They have two grandchildren.
Sarah said: “Before the crash, I was a very active, sporty, and social person, so I’ve really struggled with not being able to do things I used to.
“Enjoying Sunday roast dinners and days out with my family were what I missed the most and while I still struggle with going long distances and get easily fatigued, I’m really pleased with how my recovery is going.
“I still don’t remember much from the time of the crash, but I know I’ve had the most amazing care and support, and I’m so grateful to my family especially David for looking after me. And I also want to thank my lawyers for being by my side throughout my rehabilitation.
“I’ve had to relearn so many things that we all take for granted, such as walking, and I got back behind a steering wheel for the first time this year, which was a huge achievement for me.
“While I know my injuries will affect me for the rest of my life, I’m incredibly lucky to still be here. I hope my story inspires others who may have gone through similar trauma to know that there is life after a brain injury. It’s a very different life to what I had before, but recovery is a long road and I’m determined to get there.
“I also want to warn other drivers to stay safe at all times. I wouldn’t want anyone else going through what I have.”
In a civil case, the van driver’s employer admitted liability. In a criminal case, in 2021, the van driver was convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Road Safety Week, organised by charity Brake, runs from 19 to 25 November. Find out more at https://www.brake.org.uk/road-safety-week
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people access specialist support and rehabilitation following a road collision at our dedicated serious injury section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0808 303 8167.