Video: £1.3m compensation for motorcyclist

03 January 2024

Simon received life-changing injuries in a road traffic collision.  Whilst riding his motorbike, he was hit and thrown through the air, landing on his head.  His helmet came off in the collision and he suffered a significant traumatic brain injury

He also broke one of his legs.  He was taken by ambulance to the local major trauma centre and was admitted for decompressive craniectomy, after scanning showed a right subdural and parietal lobe haematoma. 

When Simon was discharged, he was given a helmet to wear until he could have a surgical repair to his skull, by inserting a titanium plate.  Some months later he was readmitted back to hospital to have a cranioplasty.

Simon’s challenges

The symptoms that someone may have with a head injury can be very varied.  In Simon’s case he was left with extreme fatigue, mild incontinence, reduced general mental ability, substantial language problems, dizziness, difficulty regulating emotions, loss of smell and taste, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressive mood and excessive sweating.  He also could not remember the accident.  Simon also had low back pain and leg pain.  He was at an increased risk of developing epilepsy and if he did ever get it, it would stop him from driving.

Whilst the insurer for the driver who hit Simon accepted fault, they did claim that he should bear some responsibility because his helmet came off in the accident. They argued it could not have been fastened and so his claim for compensation should be reduced; a point which was denied by Simon and which we always resisted vigorously.

How we made a positive impact

Once we were instructed, we immediately arranged for the insurer to fund the early appointment of a specialised brain injury case manager who was tasked with making an assessment of Simon’s needs and thereafter facilitating the treatment he needed to rebuild after his injuries.  

The case manager identified, amongst other things, that: Simon’s balance was impaired with a risk of falling. He had hearing loss and tinnitus, and so needed a hearing aid and vestibular assessment. He was unable to recall anything for over a week before the accident, had other memory and attention problems needing a neuropsychological input, he had nightmares needing treatment by a clinical psychologist.  Later due to his social exclusion, Simon also needed a support worker to help him access the community. 

Simon still relied heavily on his Mum. She stayed with him during the day, prompting him to get up, preparing meals, cleaning, and helping him with appointments. If she did not go round, he would just stay in bed most of the day and not eat. 

One of Simon’s main goals was to learn to drive a car, so we made this our priority.

We arranged:

  • Driving lessons so that Simon could pass his test, and not need to get back on a motorbike
  • An interim payment so that Simon could purchase a car and insure it
  • A hearing aid due to his hearing impairment
  • The temporary rental of a more suitable property.

Simon only had access to limited physiotherapy and occupational therapy on the NHS. So, we arranged for him to receive extensive private therapy including support from a psychologist, neuropsychologist, an occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and a physiotherapist. Simon needed support with relearning how to walk, eat and drink.

We got a specialist report from an expert in motorcycle helmets who concluded that Simon was wearing his helmet correctly. Liability for the accident was then formally accepted in full.

In addition, we secured early interim payments from the driver’s insurer to allow Simon to continue to pay his bills.  Due to the fact that he was off work he was no longer being paid and only receiving statutory sick pay.  He later lost his job, as he was struggling with fatigue following his brain injury.  

The outcome

When we had secured all the evidence to properly assess Simon’s case, we engaged with the defendant in negotiations.  Their initial offer was just over £1,000,000, but we managed to secure a final settlement of £1,300,000.  This included provision for all his future care and assistance needs. 

Simon has done remarkably well since the accident. He has returned to doing most of his activities and has started his own property business. His award allowed him to buy his own home.

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