Jonathan Clement and Lorna Buckwell, personal injury lawyers specialising in cases involving brain injury, based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) offices, have secured a six figure sum for a young woman who suffered brain damage after being struck by a car.
Our specialist brain injury team acted for Susan (not the client’s real name) in her personal injury claim following an accident in 2001, the claim was finally settled in 2014. During this time Susan overcame a number of challenges, due to her own hard work and determination and with the support of the funding we secured for her, she has become an accomplished young woman.
Susan (aged 11) was struck by a car when walking home from school, she sustained life changing injuries. On arrival at hospital, Susan had a brain scan which showed injury to the left frontal and temporal lobes of her brain affecting intellectual activities (such as planning and organising), as well as her personality, the control of emotions and behaviour and the ability to understand and speak.
Susan’s physical injuries were not serious enough for her to go into a residential rehabilitation unit and so she was discharged to the care of her parents. As part of the early rehabilitation process Susan started physiotherapy. This helped her to overcome frustrations and anger resulting from her mobility issues.
Susan’s life after injury
A few months after the accident Susan had recovered sufficiently from her physical injuries to return to mainstream school part time. However, by this point the affects of the brain injury were starting to become apparent. Susan developed anxiety and behavioural problems as she struggled with reading and writing at school (she had not had any issues at school before the accident) and she had difficulty remembering things she had been taught. Her mother decided to move her into hospital school, which was a better equipped educational environment for Susan and she went on to achieve seven GCSE’s.
Susan had an ambition to become a nurse and to fulfil this ambition she went to college to study for a qualification in health and social care. Struggling with the minimal structure and lack of guidance she felt a little out of her depth and changed to an administration course to get ready for university.
Susan passed the administration course and was successful in gaining a place at a university in London on a Diploma in children’s nursing. Susan had to move out of the family home to live independently whilst at university and her steely determination to succeed surpassed everyone’s expectations.
There were difficulties through Susan’s university years. Her memory problems made the coursework harder for her to complete and she also experienced very stressful situations when she was on a placement on a ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was at this point that the importance of Thomson Snell & Passmore came to the fore and we helped to secure funds from the compensator for a case manager.
The case manager was able to provide Susan with the vital support she needed to cope with the added pressures of university life. The case manager guided her through difficulties on work placement and helped with liaising with the university support services. The case manager was also able to organise therapy sessions with a psychologist to provide Susan with coping strategies.
Although Susan did have support from her family and the case manager to help her through her time at university, it is really as a result of her incredible determination to succeed that she completed the training and passed her nursing diploma. It was a fantastic achievement and it gave Susan a positive outlook for the future.
How Thomson Snell & Passmore helped
Susan’s mother approached Thomson Snell & Passmore shortly after the accident to investigate whether Susan had a valid personal injury claim. Our experienced advisors were able to establish at an early stage that there was a claim but that there was a potential issue with liability which meant that if the case were to be heard by a judge there was a significant risk of a finding of contributory negligence by Susan.
Our team entered into negotiations with the defendant’s legal representatives and were able to secure agreement for Susan on the issue of liability with both parties sharing responsibility. This removed any uncertainty for Susan as she knew that she would be receiving compensation for her injuries. Although Susan did bear some responsibility for the accident, we were able to persuade the Defendant’s insurance company to fund Susan’s rehabilitation (including vital case management) on a 100% liability basis. Indeed throughout the progress of the case we worked collaboratively with the Defendant’s representatives in order to achieve the best outcome possible for Susan, ultimately allowing her to achieve her ambition to qualify as a nurse.
How a case manager can help
As a result of the brain injury sustained in the accident, Susan suffers with incredible fatigue. The medical professionals involved in Susan’s claim advised and Susan agreed that she would be better suited to a part time nursing role. So Susan’s case manager arranged for a specialist vocational case manager to advise Susan on part time roles, helped her to prepare a CV and gave her important interview techniques.
Susan was very happy to secure her first nursing role quickly. However, she also found the 12 hour shifts difficult to cope with. It was very busy on the ward, staff were unable to provide Susan with the support she needed to allow her confidence to grow. Susan began to feel isolated and homesick. In order to help Susan cope, her case manager arranged for her to meet regularly with a buddy, someone her own age who she could meet for coffee and socialise with. This was a great help to Susan.
Susan later found a role working in a respite centre for children with severe learning difficulties which was closer to home. This is a very challenging role; the children in Susan’s care can often be aggressive and even violent. However, this does not faze Susan, she is determined to put her nursing training into practice and enjoys working in a caring and supportive role with the children.
Susan is a great example of someone, who despite their difficulties brought about by a brain injury, has managed to succeed through her own personal ambition and determination.
Jonathan Clement and Lorna Buckwell specialise in brain injury cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan or Lorna a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact them on 01892 701264 or 01892 701148 in confidence.