Lucy led a happy and ordinary life up until the day of her accident.
Unfortunately, at the age of 13, Lucy was involved in a road traffic collision. She was exiting a car when she was hit by a speeding motorbike and suffered a significant brain injury as well as other injuries. The accident was nearly fatal, but thankfully, an air ambulance took her to hospital on time, saving her life.
Lucy’s recovery was slow, and she spent weeks in a coma. When she woke up, she started experiencing significant symptoms from her brain injury, including hypersensitivity to external stimuli like light or sound, aggression, lack of inhibition as well as lack of concentration and challenges in taking in new information and remembering it.
Her symptoms were both behavioural and intellectual, showing that the brain haemorrhage she suffered affected multiple parts of her brain. Outside of these symptoms, she suffered from anxiety and depression, tremors and dizziness.
Lucy’s family sought legal support to bring a claim against the motorbike driver. Even though a firm was appointed, not much seemed to be happening to put in place the support Lucy needed with her rehabilitation. The firm they chose was advertising themselves as specialists in personal injury claims, but their experience seemed to be mainly acquired by supporting clients that had suffered minor injuries and not the life-changing ones Lucy had survived.
Years passed, and Lucy’s claim was not progressing much. Personal injury claims can take a long time to conclude when the injured person is a child, but there are many things a solicitor can do to provide the family with support in the interim.
Unfortunately, Lucy’s solicitors had not secured her any interim support to improve her living conditions and help her get to grips with her injuries. Once a really good student, she was now struggling with school and dropped out. After her accident, she became reserved and reclusive.
She had to change schools and go to one 13 miles away from home as her previous school could not meet her needs, and the local authority chose the new one for her on her EHCP. This change posed many challenges for the family as Lucy’s mum doesn’t drive. The school change didn’t seem to help with Lucy’s declining performance or behavioural issues, as a number of safeguarding referrals were made highlighting her sexually promiscuous and inappropriate behaviour.
Lucy was putting herself at risk both at school and at home, especially online. Despite the best efforts of her family to manage her behaviours, by the age of 15, she was sending naked photos of herself to others and was the target of online grooming.
Around this time, the family, having accessed some funds from the claim, appointed a case manager for Lucy, who straight away realised the danger she was in and started putting the support she needed in place. That included a psychologist, OT, Ed Psychologist, assistive technology, and support workers. The case manager having full sight of the lack of initial provision for Lucy, spoke to the family and suggested they should speak to other solicitor firms as their daughter’s needs were not being met by their existing firm.
Enable Law was appointed around 6 months after this conversation took place and took over the case. Even though a number of years had passed, the previous firm had not appointed any medical experts to work out the prognosis for Lucy to help understand her future needs. They had also not approached a barrister to start working on building the case. All in all, Enable Law had to treat the case as if no work had been done on behalf of Lucy.
Full liability was quickly obtained, and medical reports were commissioned. More substantial interim payments were secured and provisions were put in place to support the family and give Lucy the help she needed. Even though technically Lucy already had a deputy appointed from her old firm, they didn’t get involved with her care and seemed to only coordinate payments, so the family also decided to move the deputyship to Enable Law a few months after they instructed the firm to take over the case. Her new deputy quickly made court applications for Lucy’s capacity in relation to multiple types of decision-making to be examined and safeguards to be put in place to help her achieve her dreams whilst being safe.
Both Lucy’s and her family’s lives changed after appointing a truly specialist firm to support them. Having solicitors that fully understand your needs and can help you meet them can make a really big difference. Lucy’s recovery was impacted by the lack of support she received close to the time of her injury, but now she is making progress and will hopefully one day be independent and safe enough to make her dream of having a family with children of her own come true.
How Major Trauma Group can help
If you have solicitors acting for you in a personal injury claim, but have concerns about the progression of your claim, our member law firms are available for a free, no obligation chat.
You are within your rights to change solicitor at any point in your claim if you are not entirely happy with your legal representation but it’s important to speak to another solicitor before terminating your existing solicitors’ retainer as there are some procedural and administration matters to consider.