This is the story, in his own words, of Mr A who was involved in a serious accident some years ago. On 15th July 2003 I was involved a road traffic accident that left me with a brain injury, lost, confused and unable to decipher what had happened to me.
How I felt after the accident
The only way I’ve been able to explain the feeling I had after the accident was by asking people to imagine what it would be like to have the cognitive awareness of a cat. I was constantly making mistakes of all nature; be it financial or social and was unable to organise or prioritise any aspect of my life. I was unable to hold down a job and subsequently had to give up on a career I had spent my whole life working towards. Having been a high achiever before the accident made it more difficult as I could not justify my inability to succeed in anything I did. I simply could not understand.
Finding the right legal adviser
Some years after the accident, after becoming unhappy with the first lawyer I instructed, I came across a lawyer who asked me pertinent questions on subjects in respect to my injury that had never even crossed my mind before but which struck me as intrinsic.
At this stage everything changed and finally, there was a plan, a direction, not only for my legal case but also in respect to my recovery. After years of drifting I was pointed towards medical help and I was also introduced to Eddie Fardell at Thomson Snell & Passmore.
How I dealt with my finances
Various medical experts had suggested I go under the supervision of the Court of Protection due to my sporadic and often excessive spending habits. These spending issues were more of an inability to control or understand my own finances rather than a desire to go on a spending spree, but either way I was certainly not able to live within my own means at that stage.
To say the guidance from Thomson Snell & Passmore, was life changing is not an overstatement.
Measures were put in place that allowed me to survive financially without the issues I was having before. Thanks to interim payments the overdrafts and debts which I had accumulated were paid off and through their advice all my bills and regular outgoings were direct debited. All of a sudden a burden so heavy was removed from my life. It was only with hindsight that I realised how much of a negative impact my financial pressures and concerns were having on me. Oftentimes it was these worries that would push me into a deep depression. I now, for the first time since the accident, felt able to concentrate on my recovery rather than my financial mistakes.
Why the Court of Protection
When the Court of Protection was first mentioned and explained to me by my case solicitor, I was at least slightly dubious. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the understanding that once my case was settled it would be years, at least, before I was able to control/have access to the wealth that I would gain as a result of the court case. I did in fact believe that the end of the case would see me suddenly ‘better’; just how I was before the accident occurred. I had a career direction I wanted to follow once that was finished that I knew my settlement would allow for and I fully intended to pursue that.
Life after brain injury
As time moved and I continued my recovery through the help of my brain injury work and life coach, I eventually felt I had enough of a handle on life and my finances to make my first tentative steps into a career I was keen on moving into; that of property investment and development. I set up a meeting with Eddie and we both felt comfortable enough for me to buy my first property. This was a stage where Eddie’s advice played a very significant role for me. I was initially thinking that I would buy a very large project that would require some serious work. However, and thankfully, it was suggested that I start at the lower end of the scale and learn the industry for myself. I’m extremely happy that this was the route taken. Although the project was a success, I realised I hadn’t had the eye or the knowledge to have been able to take on a large project. I did the vast majority of work myself, which allowed me to learn a lot of the trade.
As I have bought more property Eddie has been extremely understanding and confident in my decision-making to the extent that he has said to me; ‘if you’re comfortable with it then so am I’. As I have gleaned knowledge of the industry, made my contacts and been successful Eddie has been ever more trusting and believing in me.
The way our relationship has been over these years, and more so since I started my career, has been a huge boost for me; not just in confidence but also with respect to my independence.
As was the case for me, and I’m sure is for all with head injuries, there is no forcing the recovery. It will happen at the biological pace it is going to and this is exactly what Eddie’s approach to me has nurtured.
When I felt I no longer needed the protection of the Court of Protection
The realisation that I no longer felt the need for the Court of Protection was somewhat back to front. Rather than wanting freedom from this protection, as this was not an issue, it was my awareness that as I have progressed I feel more and more confident in taking calculated risks. At this point, along with the suggestion from Eddie the beginning of the process of leaving the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection was started.
I don’t believe I would be where I am today had I not been under the Court of Protection; the safety net, the stress relief, the advice and encouragement shown to me by Eddie and his team not only made my life easier, I believe it has actively helped in my recovery. I have been allowed to test my abilities without risking my future. After all, if my attempts at creating a new career for myself failed then it was my settlement that would have to provide my income for the rest of my life.