If you are involved in a road traffic collision whilst cycling, it’s likely that you will suffer major trauma injuries. Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users and have little protection whilst cycling. Serious fractures and head injuries are not uncommon if involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, and these can have a life-changing impact on life.
Bringing a claim for compensation can seem daunting, so in this article – we look at the case of Tom, who was injured whilst cycling in February 2019, and the process for bringing a claim.
Tom’s Story – A bit of background about Tom
Tom was injured in a road traffic collision in February 2019 whist cycling. He was hit from behind by a car when the car driver was blinded by the sun and failed to see him. At the time of the collision, he was an extremely fit 70-year-old who cycled around two hundred miles every week and walked his dog on a daily basis.
Tom suffered multiple injuries, collectively referred to as major trauma injuries. These included a left subarachnoid haemorrhage; diffuse axonal injury; possible left medial orbital wall fracture; left medial clavicle fracture; eft rib fractures 3-5, subluxation of left shoulder; right fibula shaft fracture and left lateral malleoli fracture.
His Glasgow Coma Scale, which is used to assess the level of consciousness after an injury and measures responses to three main areas – eye, motor (movement) and verbal – was 3/15 at the scene of the collision, indicating that he was unresponsive. Tom was flown by Air Ambulance to King’s College Hospital in London which is a specialist Major Trauma Centre.
Following Tom’s initial treatment at King’s College Hospital, he was transferred to an inpatient neurorehabilitation unit to receive rehabilitation for his injuries. The brain injury he suffered has left Tom with ongoing cognitive and behavioural issues. In addition, he has reduced mobility and frequently falls due to multiple vestibular issues (dizziness) which require him to use walking aids.
The claims process
Tom instructed Major Trauma Group member firm CL Medilaw to act for him in a claim for compensation against the driver of the car which hit him. CL Medilaw had some concerns regarding his mental capacity to conduct litigation on his own behalf, and so a family member acted for Tom as his litigation friend. A professional deputy was also appointed to manage his financial affairs. Various reports were obtained including that of a Neuropsychologist who confirmed that Tom did indeed lack capacity due to the brain injury that he sustained.
Medical reports also indicated that his lower limb mobility issues were caused by the damage to his brain rather than orthopaedic issues.
CL Medilaw identified the driver’s insurers and made initial contact giving them full details of the accident, Tom’s injuries and the treatment received up until that point. During an initial call with the insurers, it was agreed that a case manager who be instructed to prepare an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA) to identify what care, support and rehabilitation Tom needed at this early stage of his recovery. The case manager was also able to arrange the necessary support and treatment to allow for discharge from hospital.
The insurer also agreed to release an interim payment to assist with any financial demands suffered by Tom or his wife.
The INA identified a need for:
- Care and support;
- Adaptations to the family home;
- Support for Tom’s wife and family to help their understanding of his brain and orthopaedic injuries.
Tom was at first reluctant to engage in rehabilitation, but his case manager and therapists (collectively called the Multi-Disciplinary Team, or MDT) worked together to find the best way to engage with Tom which included devising ways to make him feel as though rehabilitation, and the engagement of support workers, was his idea and not theirs. This creative thinking by the MDT has enabled Tom to engage successfully with rehabilitation.
Settlement and beyond
At the point CL Medilaw had collated all the relevant medical reports, evidence and other information required to settle Tom’s claim, he was still receiving help from his case manager, vestibular physiotherapist, Neuropsychologist, and support worker. In the future, he will require input from an occupational therapist as further adaptations may be required to the family home.
Two years after the accident, CL Medilaw and representatives from the insurers of the car driver met for a Joint Settlement Meeting, where both sides come together to discuss a settlement package without the need for a Court trial. Tom’s settlement included elements for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for the injuries he sustained as a result of the collision. It also included funds to provide for the possibility of a move in later life to a bungalow due to his ongoing mobility issues and for future care costs. Tom’s rehabilitation was paid for directly by the insurers under the Serious Injury Guide.
Tom is now engaging in physiotherapy a few times a week and mobilising outside with the help of his support worker. Tom has also been able to return to doing simple cooking tasks and will soon be attending an adapted bike session to see if he might be able to ride again.
By bringing a successful claim for major trauma injuries via a solicitor with the experience and knowledge to put the right support and rehabilitation in place at an early stage of the process, Tom’s rehabilitation journey is progressing well, and he has the funds required to secure his future.
How Major Trauma Group can help
If you have suffered an injury in a cycling accident, our member law firms are available to assist with a free, no-obligation chat. Contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (0330 311 2578) or via live chat on our website (available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).
Major Trauma Group is a not-for-profit community interest company that can connect you with law firms that specialise in catastrophic/major trauma injury claims, with a focus on rehabilitation.