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Case Study: Pedestrian Road Traffic Accident

The Claimant, Miss D, was 19 years of age when she was struck by a car whilst crossing the road. The Defendant was an elderly gentleman. The road which Miss D was crossing was straight, with an unobstructed view in both directions. It was Miss D’s case that there was no good reason why the driver did not see her.

Unfortunately, due to the extent of the injuries suffered, Miss D could remember very little of the accident circumstances. It is for a Claimant to prove their case and, in the absence of memory, establishing exactly what happened in the run up to the impact was problematic. In addition, there was a witness to the incident who thought Miss D may have been wearing headphones and, this being the case, she may not have heard the car.

Liability was agreed on an 85%/15% basis in Miss D’s favour; recognising that the greater onus was on the Defendant driver but also acknowledging the fact that Miss D should have taken more care for her own safety when crossing the road.

As a result of the accident, Miss D suffered significant injuries including;-

  • Fractures of left fibular and tibia with associated scarring.
  • A comminuted right distal intra-articular femur fracture
  • A fractured pelvis and sacrum
  • Fractured ribs
  • An undisplaced fracture of the left elbow
  • Internal injuries including a punctured lung, laceration to the liver and a right renal cortex infarction
  • A Major Depressive Reaction.

At over 5 years post-accident Miss D was still experiencing high levels of pain, an inability to walk long distances and a continued reluctance to expose her lower legs due to scarring and fluid pockets. For a young woman in her early 20’s, this aspect of the injury was particularly significant.

Evidentially, it was problematic in establishing what effect the injuries would have on Miss D moving forwards; vocationally, domestically and recreationally, especially in the absence of any pre-accident history (noting Miss D’s age at the date of accident).

Attempts were made by Miss D to try and secure employment during the life of the case but these were unsuccessful due to the ongoing effects of her injuries. The orthopaedic experts agreed that Miss D would meet the criteria to be classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. The experts were therefore requested to address not only Miss D’s earning capacity, given the finding of disability, but also how the ongoing symptoms were likely to progress and the impact that this would have on her working life time/retirement age. Evidence from a Vocational and Employment Consultant assisted in identifying what types of work Miss D would be suited to in the future.

Another important consideration was the suitability or otherwise of the accommodation in which she lived at the time the case concluded and whether it would meet her future needs, against the background that it was unlikely she would have been in a position to purchase her own property in any event. At the same time, however, it was acknowledged that a first floor flat with multiple, steep flights of stairs was not ideal for someone who had suffered serious injuries like Miss D and who had difficulties with walking.

In September 2017, just over 5 years after the accident the parties attended a Joint Settlement Meeting (a meeting, outside of the Court process, which both parties attend with the intention of engaging in negotiation, aimed at settling the case, thus avoiding the need for the formality of a final hearing at Court). The majority of serious injury cases now settle at such meetings.

At the JSM, settlement of the case was achieved at just over £500,000.00.