Ambulance Victim Recovers Compensation
Claire suffered catastrophic injuries in a road traffic accident when she was only 9 years old. She was crossing a road outside her parents’ home when she was hit by an ambulance. Claire suffered a very serious head injury. She was admitted to hospital where she was resuscitated with intubation and ventilation. Sadly Claire was left with very severe spastic quadriplegia. As a result of the accident, she has limited mobility and is totally dependent on others. Claire has reasonable head control but she cannot control any other movements. She needs full support for both sitting and standing. She has been left with very little in the way of communication skills. Claire is able to smile and make different noises and she responds to voices and noises around her. She suffers from epilepsy although the intensity and frequency of the fits decreased over time.
Claire’s parents initially consulted local solicitors. They carried out very considerable investigations but they could not persuade the Ambulance Authority to accept responsibility. The Ambulance Authority suggested that Claire simply ran in front of the ambulance. They said she did not look and the ambulance driver had no chance to avoid her. They did not make any offers of compensation, despite the very significant needs which Claire exhibited, and the costs which were being incurred by her parents.
We were recommended to Claire’s parents and they approached our Personal Injury team. We listened to their situation and then we obtained her file of papers from her previous solicitors. Our first step was to begin trying to establish sufficient evidence to mount a case in Claire’s favour. We interviewed all the witnesses to the accident. We also visited the scene, took photographs, and obtained accident reconstruction evidence. Armed with this evidence we invited the Ambulance Authority to reconsider their decision. After many negotiations, they made a major concession. They agreed to make a significant payment to Claire.
Claire’s parents used her compensation to extend their home so as to erect a ground floor suite for Claire to live in. She needed level access, a shower and a bathroom, and an overhead hoist to transfer Claire from bed to toilet and the shower. In addition, Claire’s parents needed to be able to transport her and her wheelchair so they used funds to purchase a suitable vehicle. This made a dramatic difference to both Claire’s life and that of her family. Whilst we were unable to recover a full settlement for her, our negotiations were able to deliver a very significant settlement when none had previously been offered.
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