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Lucky To Be Alive Scientist Speaks Of Her Recovery From Serious Motorbike Crash

Irwin Mitchell Secures Settlement To Help Young Russian Scientist


A promising young scientist who suffered severe brain damage when her husband’s motorcycle blew a tyre and flew off the road with her as a pillion passenger has spoken for the first time about the devastating incident.

Katya Solyanko, from Accrington, was also left partially sighted following the incident on 13 February 2011 when the rear tyre burst on husband Philip Rushworth’s motorcycle on the M6 motorway as he drove over a series of core holes in the road surface.

Philip lost control of the motorcycle and as they skidded onto the hard shoulder 29-year-old Katya collided head-first with the crash barrier. She had to be airlifted to Preston Royal Hospital where she underwent two operations to relieve the severe bleeding she had suffered on her brain.

Specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have now secured a vital substantial six-figure settlement from insurers to help provide her with therapies and rehabilitation from her injuries as she has been forced to give up her career as a marine scientist at Hull University.

Katya, originally from Kaliningrad, Russia, can no longer work for long periods due to her poor eyesight and lasting cognitive problems, including seizures, impaired memory and poor concentration.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office are now working with Katya to help her to further overcome her injuries and have secured access to specialist support and therapy as she looks to rebuild her life and career.

Matthew Garson, a serious injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, said: “This was a horrific crash in which a woman at the start of a promising career struggled to come to terms with the fact her life will never be the same again.

“It is another reminder of the devastating affect road traffic accidents can have. As soon as the tyre burst it appears there was little Philip could do to retain control.

“It was important for us to secure the settlement to help with Katya’s rehabilitation from her brain injuries and we have worked with her to provide the support she needs to improve her quality of life. Hopefully with the right professional support for both the physical and mental impact of the incident she will go on to achieve many of the goals she is now setting for herself as part of her recovery.”

Speaking of the incident for the first time, Katya thanked the Air Ambulance team who helped her in the aftermath of the crash: “My first memory of the incident is the noise of the helicopter as I was being transferred to the hospital.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the fantastic staff that came to my aid and I am sure their speed at getting to the scene helped to limit the impact of the bleeding I was suffering on my brain. Had it not been for them I fear this situation could have been much, much worse, and I feel lucky to be alive.”

Katya was kept in hospital for nearly a month and initially struggled to come to terms with her head injuries. After being discharged, she continued to struggle with her situation and despite suffering a number of seizures and being clearly unwell she became frustrated at not being able to return to work.

Katya added: “The brain injuries had a real impact on my mental well-being and I would often become angry with my family as I didn’t want to let my injuries stop me leading my life as it was before the accident.

“Sometimes I would get so confused about where I was and would sometimes think I was back in Russia. It took me a while to accept the impact the crash has made but thankfully I am now much calmer about it and I am looking forward to rebuilding my life.

“I am currently looking to identify further rehabilitation and to look at the possibilities for me returning to work in some form. I will probably never be able to work at the same skill level as before, but I feel there is still a lot of good I can do both in scientific research and also in helping to support scientists like me who suffer with their vision.”

If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident involving a motorbike, our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Motorbike Accident Claims page for more information.