£1.4 million awarded to a seriously-injured motorcyclist | Case Study

Quittance panel solicitor Kevin Walker handled this motorcycle accident claim on behalf of a seriously-injured claimant.

Kevin obtained compensation for a motorcyclist who sustained multiple injuries in a collision with an oncoming car. The car veered into the claimant's lane, colliding with his trike and causing catastrophic injuries.

The other driver initially denied liability. The driver conceded only after accident reconstruction evidence supported the claimant's account of the accident.

The claimant sustained complex fractures to the tibia, fibula and femur of his right leg.

Unsuccessful treatment

During subsequent months, seven surgeries were performed in attempts to salvage the leg. After almost 18 months of severe pain and numerous surgeries, the claimant developed an infection of the bone known as osteomyelitis and amputation was then the only route available.

The claimant was a transtibial (below the knee) amputee. The claimant was deemed to be a relatively unsuccessful prosthesis user partly because of the short size and shape of the residual and partly because of his age and pre-existing conditions. Prosthetic costs were however included in the claim.

Lost earnings

The claimant was nearing the usual retirement age for the industry he worked in, but he would have been expected to find alternative employment at more of a supervisory level. He was a good earner who supported his family and a claim for lost earnings was therefore not insignificant.

As well as lost earnings past and future there was a loss of pension. As the claimant could no longer work in his chosen industry and, on balance, he was not likely to find employment again in a similar position, an award was sought for the claimant's lost pension contributions.

Other costs and losses

The claimant did become relatively independent and was able to take up his passion of fishing again. A suitable powered wheelchair was purchased, which could tow his fishing gear.

Kevin arranged rehabilitation for both the claimant's physical and mental well-being, and a taxi account was set up to enable him to travel to such appointments.

His family home was assessed to be unsuitable for someone who was going to be a predominant wheelchair user. Another single level property was found, extended and adapted to make sure that it was future-proof and suitable for the claimant as a wheelchair user. All the associated costs of moving were also included.

An automatic SUV was purchased for the claimant. The SUV was a significantly larger vehicle than he was used to driving, but it meant that it could be adapted with a storage system in the boot for a powered wheelchair.

Care and support

Other elements of the claimant’s claim included the replacement cost of damaged clothing and bike gear, the pre-accident value of his trike, the cost of setting up a personal injury trust to protect his entitlement to welfare benefits, the cost of a personal trainer, the cost of a cleaner and the costs for certain DIY projects and gardening, the cost of appliances, aids and equipment.

Another aspect which is sometimes overlooked is that of the cost of future holidays. Kevin included this in the claim as holidays for the claimant will be inherently more expensive given his disability. For future holidays, the claimant would need travel assistance, leg room, transfers, suitably adapted accommodation and increased insurance premiums.

Kevin was able to settle the claimant’s claim in excess of £1.4 million.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher