Type: Road Traffic Accident
Total Injury Duration: Permanent
Total Damages: £875,000
In September 2013, we helped a 45-year-old man in securing a total of £875,000 in compensation after a devastating road traffic accident involving two heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
The accident left our client with life threatening physical and psychological injuries.
We detail his case below and to protect client confidentiality, the claimant will be referred to as 'Mr I'.
In July 2007 Mr I was driving a lorry for his employer on the motorway. When slowing down due to heavy traffic in front of him, his vehicle was hit from behind by another lorry with severe force. The force actually lifted Mr I's lorry into the air and landed underneath the cab in front of him.
He was then trapped inside the cab for around three hours before being cut free by emergency services.
He suffered a fractured tibial shaft and plateau fracture to his left shinbone. Injuries to his back and hip were also sustained as well as suffering from psychological damage.
Mr I claimed that the defendant was negligent in failing to prevent his vehicle colliding with him from not leaving sufficient stopping distance.
After the accident, Mr I started to develop compartment syndrome - which is a build up of pressure in a muscle and nerve compartments.
During July 2007 he underwent a fasciotomy (where the fascia is cut to relieve tension or pressure) of his left leg and thigh allowing his muscle and nerve compartments to be then adequately decompressed.
Throughout the month his fasciotomy wounds were treated and underwent a skin graft operation. It was from this time where he began to face a number of leg infections.
The August 2007 Mr I attended surgery to remove an external frame which was fitted around his leg and apply an above-knee backslab in its place. A debridement procedure was also carried out (removal of damaged/infected tissue) however, the wound failed to heal and Mr I was transferred to another hospital to undergo plastic surgery.
The following month he took part in a further debridement procedure and also VAC therapy twice. The fracture which Mr I had suffered was not healing and therefore was referred to a limb reconstruction unit during October 2007. A Taylor Spatial frame was applied to Mr I and was to be left for 18 months.
During May 2008 Mr I underwent reconstructive surgery and have another frame applied to his leg. As the wound was failing to heal, he then underwent a bone graft. This was also unsuccessful and saw Mr I have to consider amputation. However by August 2009, his consultants were satisfied that the fracture had now united and the frame was able to be removed the following month.
Mr I participated in a number of intense physiotherapy treatment sessions until April 2011. A further Taylor Spatial frame was applied to his left ankle with flexor tenotomy (lengthening of a muscle which has become shortened and/or is resistant to stretch) was then performed on his left little toe. Z-plasty and the lengthening of his Achilles tendon were also carried out during this time. During the next three months, the frame on his ankle was removed and was replaced by a plaster cast and an air cast boot.
After the numerous operations, Mr I was left with a shortening of his left leg by 2.5cm - this meant that he was only able to walk with the assist of a stick and also carried a noticeable limp. Even with the help a walking stick, he still experienced significant pain and difficulties in mobility. In addition to all of this, he was also left with scarring and an altered shape of his left leg.
Following the accident, Mr I suffered psychological injury and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression. His symptoms did improve at a steady rate however, at the date of settlement he still continued to suffer significant symptoms of PTSD as well as depression and anxiety which has impacted on his daily life.
Mr I was unable to work after the accident and his employment terminated as an HGV vehicle driver in February 2008. It was deemed unlikely that he would ever been able to undertake any significant remunerative work in the future because of the accident as he is disabled and will remain disabled within the meaning and interpretation of the Equality Act 2010. This resulted in a loss of future earnings claim
Mr I is likely to require an ankle fusion procedure in the future, there is also an increased risk that he would suffer degenerative changes in both of his hips and right knee due to the effect that the accident has on his gait pattern.
It was believed that the symptoms from osteoarthritic changes (degenerative arthritis) were likely to progress at a slow rate over the following 10 to 15 years. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis in his left knee is also likely to deteriorate and Mr I will require a primary total knee arthroplasty within four to six years from the date of his claim settlement.
Our client accepted a total of £875,000 in the final settlement of his injury claim, there was no official breakdown provided by either party, so the following is our estimate of how the compensation was broken down:
As complex injury specialists, we have supported thousands of people in securing the compensation they deserve and the long term care they need.