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In any serious personal injury case, litigation (i.e. the process of taking legal action) is only part of the story. True, your legal team must have the foundation of sound technical knowledge, especially in specialist and complex injury cases, as well as your complete trust and confidence.
However, most clients who have suffered a life-changing injury not unreasonably expect their legal team’s first and principal concern to be looking after their client’s best interests and welfare.
Helping them, as far as is possible, to regain their former quality of life sooner rather than later.
That was certainly true of our client Wayne Smith from Warwickshire who instructed Shoosmiths to act on his behalf following a serious road traffic accident on 9 December 2012. A car drove into his motorbike while he was travelling along the A423 and Mr Smith sustained serious injuries including an open fracture and substantial damage to his left foot.
He continued to suffer from the effects of the accident and was unable to work for over a year after his injury. He attempted a phased return to his job as a territory manager for a pharmaceutical company, but after three months he was signed off again. Eventually his employment was terminated on 19 December 2014 on the grounds of ill health and he has not worked since.
Aside from the physical injuries he sustained, the psychological impact of not being able to earn a living or do the everyday things he had previously enjoyed was debilitating. He was frustrated, bored, despondent and in some pain.
Chris McKinney, a partner leading the personal injury team in the firm’s Northampton office handled the case from the outset and explains:
‘The provision of immediate and ongoing support and therapies were our first priority for Wayne and entirely separate from the litigation process. In any case of this kind, beyond the headline settlement figure, our aim is always to achieve an outcome that helps our client and their family to rebuild their lives and move forward as quickly as possible.’
This was achieved in Mr Smith’s case not only through securing substantial six-figure financial compensation, but immediately seeking out new, innovative and effective routes to try and aid his recovery.
We arranged for Mr Smith to be supported by a Case Manager appointed under The Rehabilitation Code (funded by the other driver’s insurance company) to look after his needs from the day of his discharge from hospital.
Under The Rehabilitation Code the insurance company agreed to immediately pay for a series of therapies, including physiotherapy, pain management treatment, reflexology treatment, assessment for a spinal cord stimulator, attendance at a functional restoration programme, ongoing cognitive behavioural therapy and the purchase of aids and equipment.
During the course of the claim regular interim payments were also obtained from the other party’s insurers to replace Mr Smith’s lost earnings. The claim was eventually submitted to the other driver’s insurance company based on a carefully calculated and updated schedule which covered the loss of Mr Smith’s earnings (and those of his wife whose caring role had expanded), a claim for his reduced pension, the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation and therapies as well as travel costs and other losses.
A settlement meeting took place on 3 July 2017 when terms of settlement were agreed. The key was that Mr Smith and his family did not have to wait until this point to get all the help and assistance they required.
Wayne Smith rates the support he got from Chris and Shoosmiths very highly:
‘I just want to say, on behalf of my wife Helen and myself, the warmest and sincerest thank you to Chris and his team for all they have done over the past four and a half years. Who knows what the outcome would have been if it had not been for all their hard work.’
‘Early intervention and support is crucial in these cases, not only to alleviate immediate problems but also to allow injured clients to get a feel for what they will have to face going forward. A key element in these claims is being honest about what an injured client may realistically expect to achieve in future.’
‘The rehabilitation process was essential in not only helping Wayne to cope and heal, but also in allowing him to come to terms with the inevitable limitations he would face – limitations which the financial compensation can do a great deal to alleviate.’