Helping a young man left brain-injured after he was hit by a car
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Nathan was 10 years old when he was hit by a car as he was crossing the road on a pelican crossing on his way to school. As a result of the accident, Nathan suffered a significant brain injury and fractured legs. Shortly before the accident, Nathan had taken his SATS; and received above average results.
Nathan spent most of his summer holidays in hospital, with his parents juggling being with him in hospital and looking after his twin brother, Craig. Fortunately, both parents’ employers allowed them to take unpaid leave, but this left his family financially vulnerable.
Before his accident Nathan had been full of energy, always happy to take part in games and activities. Once he was discharged from the hospital his family noticed some changes, as his behaviour became difficult and moody. He started having fights with Craig, who struggled to understand why his brother was so angry and didn’t want to play with him anymore. Nathan also seemed to be less thoughtful, often shouting out inappropriate comments in public and taking unnecessary risks. This placed additional strain on his parents and their relationship, as they disagreed on how to manage this new and unfamiliar behaviour. As Nathan was coming into his teenage years, some of these behaviours could have been linked to that, but deep down the family could tell that something more serious than teenage angst was to blame.
When Nathan’s parents realised that his injury had left him needing additional support, they asked us to help them bring a claim for damages against the person who had hit him with their car. We had a free, confidential discussion with them, took their case and got to work identifying all the ways we could help.
How we helped Nathan’s family
As soon as we started working for Nathan and his family, we were able to persuade the defendant’s insurer to admit liability for his injuries. This made it easier to ask them for an interim payment, which helped to relieve the financial stress on his family. A specialist brain injury case manager was appointed to support his family and help Nathan transition back to family life. The case manager was able to liaise with Nathan’s new secondary school to put support in place, and an Education Healthcare Plan (EHCP) was created which would make sure Nathan’s education was structured to account for his brain injury. Nathan required a lot of support to help him adjust to both his new surroundings and the academic difficulties his brain injury had left him with. Money was made available to ensure not just Nathan’s physical needs were met, but also his psychological needs.
In addition to supporting Nathan, we were able to make sure that the whole family had access to therapy; and Nathan’s brain injury could be better understood by all. This went a long way towards rebuilding family stability.
There are lots of ways in which a child can sustain a brain injury, and if the incident that caused the injury was someone else’s fault, it’s worth finding out if you can make a claim for damages on their behalf. Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of a brain injury, but falling down stairs in a shop or restaurant, tripping over something due to a trip hazard or a spillage, or even falls from play equipment can cause serious head injuries. Even if the accident was caused by someone you know, like a family member, you may still be able to pursue a claim.
Preparing for Nathan’s future
As he grew older, Nathan developed additional needs that mean he is unlikely to be able to care for himself as an adult. It was important for all of Nathan’s family to know that his needs would be met in the future even if they were not in a position to look after him full time themselves, and that reassurance is something which his legal claim has helped to provide.
Nathan’s case finally settled on his 17th birthday for a multi-million-pound settlement. Part of the damages will be provided as instalments, making sure Nathan’s additional care and support needs will be met for the rest of his life.