Car whiplash injury

Successful claim following a road traffic accident in Devon

Oliver Chapman, partner in the personal injury team, has recovered compensation of £146,000 for Miss P who suffered multiple injuries following a road traffic accident in Devon.

Miss P was travelling alone to meet her family for a week’s holiday in the West Country.

As she was driving on Exmouth Road, suddenly and without warning, the defendant’s vehicle swerved into Miss P’s carriageway, causing a head on collision with her vehicle.  The police report indicated that the collision caused both vehicles to spin, coming to a stop facing in the opposite direction to which they were travelling.

Under caution the defendant acknowledged that he had fallen asleep at the wheel and liability was promptly admitted.

Miss P was rendered unconscious by the collision and suffered a period of retrograde amnesia, but further investigation identified no long term consequences.  She remembers waking in her car and being slumped forwards against the steering wheel.  The airbag had deployed.  She felt excruciating pain in her abdomen.  She noted that people had gathered outside the car, who appeared to be panicking due to the presence of smoke in the car’s interior.  They encouraged her to escape the vehicle, but she initially struggled which caused her to panic.

She was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, before being transferred to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth for emergency surgery.  She arrived shortly after midnight and was thereafter moved to the intensive care unit where she received intravenous fluid resuscitation, intravenous antibiotics and analgesia.

A laparotomy (open procedure) was performed where she was found to have a perforated small bowel with four quadrant peritonitis.  There were multiple sclerosal liver tears which were repaired.  There was a liver haematoma under the gall bladder and multiple mesenteric haematomas.  The abdominal cavity was washed out and a drain inserted in the right iliac fossa.  The small bowl perforation was repaired and the abdominal would was closed directly.

She returned to ICU where she continued to receive intravenous antibiotics, analgesics, inotropic support.

The L4 vertebral fracture was treated conservatively.

She was discharged home three weeks later, but subsequently admitted to her local hospital, the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, for small bowel obstruction.  She was managed with nasogastric tube and intravenous infusion.  The obstruction settled with conservative management.

She was encouraged to modify her diet, to reduce her fibre intake.

She underwent investigations for amenorrhea, CBT and physiotherapy.

We obtained reports from experts in general surgery, plastic surgery in respect of her large midline scar, orthopaedic surgery and psychiatry.

The general surgeon noted that Miss P required emergency laparotomy to repair a small bowel perforation and multiple sclerosal tears in the small and large bowel.  She suffered liver haematoma near the gall bladder and multiple mesenteric haematomas.

She was required to modify her diet to reduce abdominal pain, but the chance of further deterioration and complications was low.  We investigated her occasional retrosternal pain, but no hiatus hernia was identified.

Her absence of menstruation settled after about 18 months.
The plastic surgeon advised that her scar was not amenable to improvement by plastic surgery and represented a permanent cosmetic disfigurement.

The orthopaedic surgeon noted that Miss P had suffered a two column unstable superior partial burst fracture of L4 with significant residual post traumatic deformity, but MRIs performed 2.5 years later revealed that the risk of further deterioration was small.

The psychiatrist noted that she had developed mild to moderately severe adjustment disorder with depressed mood and anxiety in the context of exacerbation of her underlying obsessive compulsive disorder.

Be that as it may, Miss P made an excellent recovery and, within a year, ran the London marathon.

We undertook full investigations, to ensure that Miss P’s prognosis was clear, and thereafter entered negotiations resulting in settlement prior to issuing court proceedings resulting in the settlement of £146,000.

Oliver Chapman specialises in polytrauma personal injury cases.  If you would like to ask Oliver a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Oliver Chapman at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701234 in confidence.

How can we help?

    Start now, get in touch