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Case Report: C v Weeks - Steven Barke, Spencers Solicitors

10/09/19. Case Name: C v Weeks
Accident Date: 8th May 2014
Settlement Date: 12th June 2019

TOTAL GROSS SETTLEMENT: £1,117,684.02 (inclusive of interim payments totalling £115,500.00 and deductible CRU benefits in the sum of £2184.02).

Background

The Claimant (age 43 at time of accident) was the driver of a motor vehicle when it was involved in a head on collision with another vehicle on 8th May 2014. Her 2 youngest children were back seat passengers in the vehicle. The claimant was 6 months pregnant at the time.

The emergency services attended the scene and the Claimant together with her children were all taken to hospital. The Claimant suffered multiple injuries, the most significant being a severe injury to her left foot and ankle, fractured left wrist, soft tissue injuries to the neck and right shoulder, rib fractures and psychological injury in the form of PTSD.

Liability

The Claimant was travelling from home to school with her two young children. They were in a steady queue of traffic on a single-track lane. The Defendant was travelling on the opposite side of the road, travelling at speed, and as he approached a sweeping corner, he lost control of his vehicle and collided head on with the Claimant's vehicle.

Liability was admitted by the Defendants.

Quantum

The Claimant's suffered a severe and complicated injury to her left foot and ankle including:
In the ankle - a hairline fracture in the talus extending into the subtalar and talonavicular joints, fractures of the distal calcaneum and probable capsular avulsion.
In the midfoot - an intra-articular fracture of the navicular involving the talonavicular joint and a comminuted cuboid fracture extending into the calcaneocuboid joints and the 4th & 5th TMT joints.
In the forefoot - multiple fractures to the neck and head of the 4th & 5th metatarsals, including a fracture extending into the TMT joint.

The Claimant had surgery to stabilise her fractures and checks were made to make sure her unborn baby was healthy, remaining in hospital until 23rd May 2014. The metalwork was removed in November 2014 with the claimant having further surgery to her left foot, including straightening her little toe, in May 2016. Unfortunately, the surgery brought little long-term benefit.

The Claimant was worried about the effect the accident had on her unborn baby. Fortunately the claimant gave birth to a healthy baby boy in August 2014 although she struggled to provide some of the basic care for her baby due to physical restrictions.

The Claimant has been left with constant pain and swelling in her left foot aggravated by even limited activity. She has hypersensitivity in the foot which together with a widened shape of the foot makes wearing most types of footwear very uncomfortable. Her search for suitable outwear continues. The Claimant generally has to walk with a crutch when away from the house and is severely limited in the distances she can walk. There is a chance the Claimant will require further surgery to her left foot and ankle with a 5% chance of requiring a left below knee amputation.
She also has secondary hip pain from her altered gait and use of the crutch.

The Claimant's husband was in the latter stages of his medical training when the accident happened. He had to take 9 months off work to care for his wife and children, delaying his qualification as a doctor. In September 2016 the Claimant and her family moved to Australia. The Claimant's husband now works for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The Claimant worked as a paramedic from age 24. She intended to return to work following her maternity leave but was unable to do so following the accident and was retired from the ambulance service on the grounds of ill health in September 2015. The Claimant has not been able to work since the accident and is at a significant disadvantage in the open labour market.

The Claimant has required a significant amount of care since the accident and continues to do so. The claimant and her family loved the outdoor lifestyle prior to the accident and a move to Australia would have been ideal had she been fit to enjoy it. Unfortunately the claimant's mobility and pain levels prevent her from taking part to the extent that she would like.

Settlement was agreed between the parties at a joint settlement meeting, in the gross sum of £1,117,684.02 inclusive of interim payments and CRU. Settlement included awards for past and future care, loss of earnings, future orthotics and accommodation needs.

Solicitors for the Claimant: Steven Barke, Spencers Solicitors 

Solicitors for the Defendant: Paul White, Shakespeare Martineau

Counsel for the Claimant: Michael Jones, Cobden House Chambers

Counsel for the Defendant: Catherine Peck, 12 King's Bench Walk

Image ©iStockphoto.com/RobertCrum