Personal Injury

18-year-old girl suffers brain injury after car accident

Our client was involved in a road accident and suffered from catastrophic injuries. Here, our experts discuss how we’re supporting the family to achieve the best outcome.

28 October 2022

Woman from behind

Our client

Our client, Marsha*, was eighteen years old when she sustained catastrophic injuries in a car accident as a passenger when the driver tragically lost control of their vehicle and it fell into a ditch. She suffered from several injuries, including a severe traumatic brain injury and multiple orthopaedic fracture injuries to her upper and lower limbs. Marsha’s traumatic brain injury was complex, including a diffuse axonal injury, intraparenchymal haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage, and a subdural haematoma.

Marsha’s journey so far

After the accident, Marsha spent four months in hospital receiving treatment and undergoing several surgeries for her immediate injuries. She was then transferred to a specialist neurological rehabilitation service, and then to a further specialist residential service, where she is receiving further treatment before awaiting discharge. While receiving her treatment, Marsha showed some signs of challenging behaviour due to her brain injury, as well as short-term memory loss. These symptoms are now improving, but learning more about the long-term impact of the accident is understandable affecting Marsha’s mental health.

These impacts include:

  • No active range of movement in her left upper limb. Marsha’s unable to bear weight on right limb and her left side has not demonstrated any active movement.
  • It’s not yet known what her tolerance for standing or walking will be, as she currently still has a fixator on her leg, which is due to be removed shortly.
  • Assistance for all personal care and hoists for transfers.

Marsha will move shortly to a care home which provides highly specialised neurobehavioural rehabilitation for the next inpatient stage of her rehabilitation journey.

The case so far

After the accident, Marsha’s family reached out to Slater and Gordon’s specialist serious injury solicitors to learn more about their next steps going forward. Our dedicated serious injury team work with clients every day who’ve suffered injuries during a road traffic accident, guiding them through the complex legal process and ensuring that they have access to the treatment and rehabilitation they need.

Marsha’s case is being headed up by Crystal Eaton, a senior solicitor in our specialist personal injury team. Crystal is a dedicated solicitor, who specialises in catastrophic injury cases, such as brain injury and other serious and complex injuries. Within days of taking on Marsha’s no win no fee claim, and receiving the third-party details, our experts approached the opponent’s insurers.

As the case began, the opponent’s insurers and solicitors welcomed a collaborative approach with our experts, and agreed to a substantial early interim payment for the Marsha and her mother to help with essential costs and travel expenses to visit her daughter in the rehabilitation centre. Further interim payments have also been obtained since.

Interim payments are payments paid to an injured client before the final compensation settlement is agreed. These payments are designed to help people who've been seriously injured and require immediate financial assistance for medical care and other related costs. At Slater and Gordon, our experts consider it a vital part of our role to seek interim payments wherever necessary, as we know just how important they can be to facilitate recovery and rehabilitation for our injured clients, as well as for taking the financial pressure off throughout the process.

Further support

As well as early interim payments, the other side also agreed to fund an early assessment by a specialist brain injury case manager. The case manager has provided much needed support and advice to Marsha and her mum at this challenging time and has attended numerous meetings and visits to see Marsha, helping her and her family to manage difficult and distressing issues.

As part of this, the specialist case manager helped raise issues of care quality with the centre and improve the relationship between Marsha’s family and the centre’s staff, as well as helping the family to find a suitable rehabilitation unit for Marsha’s next steps and unique needs, where she is now.

Our experts have also instructed an accommodation expert to assess the family’s housing options going forward. The family’s local authority rented family home isn’t likely to be suitable for Marsha’s care once she comes home, as it can’t be adapted to provide for her needs.

Marsha is likely to need accommodation which provides for essential needs such as access to a wet room, space for hoist, 24-hour carers and widened doorways to allow for wheelchair access. With a lack of suitable properties available in the local area, the accommodation expert has provided a suitability report for the property needed, and our experts will now discuss this with the other side, seeking further interim payments as required.

At Slater and Gordon, our personal injury experts work closely with our specialist Court of Protection team. In line with this, we’ve arranged for Marsha’s family to receive advice, and an application will be made for a Professional Deputy to help with Marsha’s finances and help relieve the strain from her mum. They’re also managing the interim payment funds on behalf of the family and have set up a regular monthly budget which is paid out to the family for travel expenses.

As the legal process progresses, our experts will keep Marsha’s rehabilitation needs under careful review and continue to request funds as needed, to maximise her independence. This is something that we consider a key part of our approach when it comes to ensuring the best quality of life possible for our clients. As it stands, we’re currently in the process of obtaining further expert evidence as part of the claim, which is likely to be worth several million pounds when valuations are complete.

How can Slater and Gordon help you?

At Slater and Gordon, our experts are here to help you take the next steps after your injury. If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident, we know that the impact that this has on your life can be devastating.

As in Marsha’s case, our personal injury solicitors are committed to making rehabilitation available to all our serious injury clients, by pursuing early interim payments whenever possible, and by making the cost of rehabilitation a key part of the overall compensation settlement. To learn more about the rehabilitation options available when you work with our experts, see this here.

Crystal has been awarded a Personal Injury Accreditation by The Law Society, and has been recognised as a “Rising Star” in the 2023 edition of The Legal 500 guide. It states: ‘Crystal Eaton is my favourite. The kindest person I know who combines her lovely sensitive approach to client with the fiercest determination to fight for their cause.’

If you've been involved a road traffic accident which has resulted in injury and would like to speak to one of our specialists, call us today for a free, confidential consultation on 0330 041 5869, or contact us online here. Our experts accept personal injury claims under a no win no fee agreement. This means that if you lose your case, you won’t have to pay any legal costs, allowing you to bring a claim at no financial risk.

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