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Woman Paralysed By Reversing Van Driver Awarded Care Package For Life

Accident Victim Hails ‘Incredible’ Rehabilitation and Support Services


A mum-of-two who suffered catastrophic injuries when she was knocked down by a van which left her paralysed from the neck down has spoken of her relief that she has been granted the care and rehabilitation package for life she now needs.

Carol Bright, 59, from West Wickham in Kent, suffered life changing neck and spine injuries when she was ploughed into by a Mercedes van being driven by Alexander Abimbola as she waited for her husband to pick her up from work on 20 September 2010.

Abimbola was due to be charged with the offence of dangerous driving at Bromley Magistrates last year but failed to show and has been on the run since. An appeal was made on BBC Crimewatch for anyone knowing him to come forward but he has never been located.

Carol’s devastated family contacted serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell to help arrange the specialist care and rehabilitation she continues to need and say they can finally begin to start looking to the future after she was awarded a substantial settlement that will provide her with lifelong support.

This will fund a new permanent, specially adapted home for her and her husband to live with room for the two live-in carers she requires, regular physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions, and 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Stephanie Clarke, a specialist road traffic injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Carol, said: “The horrendous injuries Carol suffered as a result of being knocked over have changed her life forever and she will never be the same again.

“She suffered these injuries through no fault of her own and to make matters worse, the person responsible has still not been brought to justice.

“Abimbola had also given fraudulent details to his car insurance company which meant a settlement could not be claimed through them which is the usual process with cases such as this.

“The Motors Insurance Bureau step in under these circumstances and we worked swiftly with them to ensure Carol had access to the support services she needed as quickly as possible.

“This final settlement means she can now look to the future knowing she has access to the best available care and rehabilitation services to be able to live her life as independently as possible.”

Carol, who is married to Peter and has two children and four grandchildren, had just left BHS where she worked when Abimbola struck her whilst reversing in his van. He told Carol at the scene of the accident that he had not seen her but later retracted this to the Police.

After initially battling for her life at Kings College Hospital, she spent 14 months in The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, in intensive care and later on the specialist spinal unit, and could only by discharged once an interim payment arranged by Irwin Mitchell was agreed to fund her moving to a specially adapted bungalow. This was because her own house was not wheelchair accessible and had no space for the two live-in carers she needs.

Carol, who can only move her head and is wheelchair reliant said: “It is 21 months since I was knocked over and I still find it very hard to come to terms with what has happened. My life changed so suddenly and it has had a devastating impact on my family as well as me.

“I loved being a grandmother and playing with my grandchildren but I can no longer enjoy any of the activities we used to do. It is still very hard. I am about to be a grandmother again and it is heartbreaking that I will not be able to hold my new grandchild.

“The support and rehabilitation services I have are incredible and it gives me a huge amount of comfort to know I am entitled to this level of care for the rest of my life with the care package that I have been granted. I can now look to the future rather than worrying about what will happen to me.

“I hope now the police catch the man that left me like this and that he will finally be brought before the criminal courts. He’s a coward for running away. I’m just thankful I have the support of a loving, caring family who have helped to get me through this.”