Sixty-Six-Year-Old “Making Steady Progress” After Serious Injury Lawyers Instructed To Help Him Access Rehabilitation
A Birmingham motorcyclist who almost lost his leg in a crash has spoken of his determination to look to the future as he continues his recovery.
John Castleton sustained multiple serious injuries to his left leg and foot when a car pulled out from a side road and collided with his motorbike in Harborne.
John was riding his motorbike along Metchley Lane when the collision happened on 27 June, 2018.
Birmingham motorcyclist John suffered serious crush injuries in crash
He was momentarily trapped between the vehicles, but that was enough to cause very serious crush injuries, multiple fractures, vascular and soft tissue damage, and blood loss.
He was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, followed by another six lengthy operations. He was discharged home on 6 August, but was readmitted two days later due to constant and unbearable pain.
John was discharged from hospital after a total of seven weeks, needing a wheelchair to get around. His consultants warned that he may need a below-the-knee amputation in the future.
His leg had been placed in a special metal frame for 12 months to stretch his leg, re-growing nearly 4cm of lost bone, and aid the healing process. After that he needed knee surgery. Then John’s consultants discovered that his left tibia was bending and his leg needed further extensive surgery to re-set it, and the external fixator frame was put back on his leg for another 12 months.
John asks serious injury lawyers to help him access specialist rehabilitation
Following the crash in June 2018, John, now aged 66, instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist rehabilitation he requires.
The car driver’s insurance company admitted liability for the collision and, with Irwin Mitchell's help, agreed to fund John’s knee and tibia surgery.
Since his accident, John has needed a wide range of rehabilitation services including physiotherapy, psychological therapy, occupational therapy and case management. This has been provided by the NHS and private organisations, the latter was also paid for by the car driver’s insurance company.
John, who lives with his wife Sandra, previously worked as an NHS counselling psychologist but hasn’t been able to work since the crash. He has, however, started to rebuild his life. He has returned to yoga – on an adapted basis - which was something he had practised for many years before his injuries. He’s also started voluntary work with two charities.
In October 2021, as part of his rehabilitation and at the recommendation of his occupational therapist, John started using a hand-cycle. This was at Solihull Wheels for All (SWFA), a charity that provides inclusive cycling for all, with adaptive bikes.
“I’ve been taught to use a hand-cycle, which has helped me to start to regain my strength and confidence”, he said. John went on to feature in a poster for Solihull Council’s “On The Move, So Go!” cycling campaign and is about to start volunteering for SWFA.
John and legal team support Road Safety Week
Ahead of Road Safety Week, John is speaking out on how he’s “faced many obstacles, but I’m making steady progress with my recovery”. He is also supporting the Think Bike! campaign which aims to improve road safety and reduce the number of motorcyclists seriously injured on the roads.
Expert Opinion“The past five years have been incredibly difficult for John as he comes to terms with the life-changing injuries he suffered that day.
“However, he has shown such determination and motivation to overcome his ordeal and move forward with his recovery.
“With the help of Sandra and his family, he’s worked hard on his rehabilitation and was chosen to be involved in a campaign to inspire people to become healthier and happier by moving more.
“While nothing can ever make up for what John has been through, we’re continuing to ensure he has access to the ongoing care and therapies he needs to maximise his recovery.
“He also wanted to share his story as a stark reminder to take care on the roads and for drivers to ‘Think Bike!’. Through our work, we far too often see innocent road users left facing the devastating consequences of the actions of others.” Toni Knott
Motorcyclist's determination to make best recovery possible after being seriously injured in collision
John said: “The road to recovery hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there slowly and I’m determined to keep it up. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“As a result of my ongoing rehabilitation, the risk of losing my leg has greatly reduced, which is a huge relief to me. On the days when it feels too difficult or painful to exercise, I remind myself of this.
“I’ve also had the most amazing support from Sandra, our family and friends, many professionals and SWFA, without which I would have never got to where I am now.
“I’m delighted and privileged to have played a part in the Solihull “So Go!” campaign. I hope I can inspire people like myself who may be struggling with movement, to help improve both their physical and mental health.
“By volunteering with SWFA, I also want to give something back to the charity which has helped me with my recovery. At every hand-cycling session, I get so much more than exercise.
“While I’m still not certain what my future holds, I know I’m lucky to be alive and to still have my left leg. Sharing my story is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has been by my side, and I also want it to act as a warning to drivers to take care on the roads at all times and ‘Think Bike!.
“My life changed in a split second, and I wouldn’t want anyone else suffering like I have.”
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 0370 1500 100.
Road Safety Week, organised by charity Brake, runs from 19 to 25 November. More information is available on the Brake website.