Brain scan images

Working with headway

Thomson Snell & Passmore helps a client of Headway in West Kent following a road traffic accident – Barry.

To ensure client confidentiality we have referred to our client as Barry.

Barry came to us following growing concerns by Headway West Kent, that his current Lawyer was not one from their approved Headway lawyer directory.  Barry suffered a brain injury following a road traffic accident but the claim had large complexities due to a brain tumour which had been treated in 1990.

Circumstances of the accident

Barry was in injured in a road traffic accident. He was riding his motorcycle and was hit by the defendant’s vehicle as he emerged from a junction. The defendant clearly had not seen Barry, Liability was admitted by the defendant very soon after the accident and so we did not need to focus on proving what happened. Instead we were able to focus on what Barry’s injuries were and how much compensation he should get.

Injuries sustained

Barry suffered multiple injuries, including fractures to his pelvis as well as an acquired traumatic brain injury. He struggled to cope in his home environment and gets frustrated and angry about his situation. He has significant on-going cognitive deficits despite performing quite well in cognitive testing in a clinical setting.

As a result of his brain injury Barry is not capable of organising himself; he forgets crucial tasks and cannot see things through to the end. His speech is slurred and so people who do not know he has suffered a brain injury (but also some medical professionals) have accused him of abusing alcohol.

Headway in West Kent

Barry sought support from Headway in West Kent. He attended the day centre as a member after his brain injury and then later started to volunteer at the centre. He had already started a personal injury claim but the staff at the centre suggested he got a second opinion from their directory of solicitors who specialise in brain injury; they provided him the directory.

How we helped

The Court of Protection team had an initial meeting with Barry having reviewed the documents Barry had in his possession regarding his claim. It became apparent that there was more work to be done on properly diagnosing Barry’s ongoing symptoms and getting a clear prognosis before settlement could be considered.

The case was transferred to Thomson Snell & Passmore and the team started work on gathering the crucial medical evidence.

A successful application to transfer to the High Court in London was made. Once there a timetable was put in place giving permission for further expert evidence to be obtained.

The case was complicated by the fact that Barry was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1990. This was successfully operated on and Barry had then gone on to study for two degrees and secure a job as a maths teacher in a school for children with special needs and behavioural difficulties. The defendant attempted to argue that Barry’s on-going cognitive deficits were as a result of the previous brain tumour rather than the traumatic brain injury sustained in the index accident. After instructing appropriate experts the team were able to prove that Barry had fully recovered from the brain tumour in 1990 and that his on-going difficulties were due to the injuries sustained in the accident. The evidence the team obtained included the joint instruction of a neuroradiologist and undertaking of a 3T MRI scan to show the micro haemorrhages of the brain which were caused by the road traffic accident were quite apart from the area of evacuation of the tumour in 1990.

After finalising the medical evidence the team were able to properly value the case. The defendant was invited to attend a joint settlement meeting and the case settled for approximately double the value of the defendant’s original offer.

Finishing the case

The settlement means that support can be put in place for Barry including a dedicated brain injury case manager who will be able to help him for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately Barry’s injuries mean that he is unlikely to work again.  However he is hoping to work as a volunteer in charity shops. He is hoping to buy his own home and maybe learn how to fly!

Barry is so grateful to Headway for all that they do for brain injured people and is keen to give something back to them for the help and support they have given him. He continues to attend Headway as a member and volunteer.

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