Elgin Man Warns Motorists About The Dangers Of Driving In Wintry Conditions
An RAF engineer who suffered life-threatening head injuries when another driver collided with him in icy weather has called for road users to take more care in winter as he looks to get his life back on track.
Malcolm Stewart, 48, of Elgin, suffered a fractured skull and facial injuries in a head-on collision on the A96 near Alves on 29 January 2010 when another driver crossed onto the wrong side of the road in icy conditions. He was airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where surgeons battled to save his life in a 10-hour operation fitting 17 metal plates to fix his skull and face.
Facing a long battle to get his life back on track, Malcolm instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who secured him a six figure settlement to cover his future loss of earnings and help him to get access to the intensive rehabilitation and treatment he needed.
Mr Stewart, an aircraft technician, spent six weeks in hospital following his operation, including 11 days in intensive care, followed by an eight-week stint at the RAF rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey, where he underwent intensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Due to Irwin Mitchell, he eventually received further support from a neuropsychologist to help repair his memory and cognitive functions.
Since the accident he has suffered from double vision, some speech difficulties and initially had trouble eating due to the injuries he sustained to his jaw. He has also suffered from seizures and still has some memory problems, has completely lost his sense of smell and has issues with his sense of taste. Despite the long term impact of the accident, Malcolm returned to his job in the RAF where he will stay until he retires at the end of this year.
However he had previously intended to pursue a career in the off-shore oil industry during his retirement but will no longer be able to do so due to his injuries.
David Bell, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Glasgow office who represented Malcolm, said: “The past three years have been particularly challenging for Malcolm who had to come to terms with the terribly debilitating injuries he sustained in the crash. He often feels frustrated and angry about the impact the crash has had on his life and he now struggles with numbers and has short term memory problems.
“His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and it’s a credit to his strength and determination that he has fought back from such a terrible brain injury to return to the job he loves.
“The settlement will allow Malcolm to continue to rebuild his life and plan for his future when he retires from the RAF. He has a strong work ethic and wanted to work in the offshore oil industry once he retired but unfortunately, he will no longer be able do that.
“I hope his case also shows the devastating impact road traffic collisions can have on people’s lives and that other drivers should take extra care in snowy and icy conditions so that serious accidents like this can be prevented in future.”
Malcolm, who has been with his partner for 14 years, said it has been a long battle back to health but he is looking forward to planning for the future now the settlement has been agreed.
He said: “The last three years have been the most harrowing and challenging of my life and at times I certainly didn’t think I’d get through it. To think that I had to be airlifted to hospital for emergency surgery and that my entire face and skull had to be reconstructed is frightening but I’m proud of the way I’ve battled back.
“The RAF have been great, offering me intensive rehabilitation at Headley Court combined with the specialist neuropsychologists Irwin Mitchell helped me get access to and without this I don’t think I’d be here today still doing the job I loved.
“It’s a huge relief the settlement has been agreed because I’m nearing retirement now and I need to re-evaluate what I want to do with my life. I can’t go and work in the oil industry as I’d hoped because it would be too dangerous for me now, which is disappointing. But the settlement ensures that I have the security to be able to choose what I now want to do.”