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Personal injury team case study – Motorcyclist road traffic accident

The circumstances

Paul Fretwell acted for a Polish factory worker, resident in the UK; a motorcyclist who had been struck by a U-turning vehicle. The claimant sustained multiple injuries including subtle brain injury, psychiatric/psychological injury, including depression, loss of identity and relationship issues, a wrist injury which required metalwork, and vertigo (secondary to head injury).

KG understandably found the legal process daunting and it was vital to ensure good, open communication (with the help and support of professional translators) we were able to develop and build a good level of rapport, trust and confidence (which KG was lacking in many other people, particularly professionals).

The case

Liability was resolved at a relatively early stage and the personal injury team at George Ide then focused upon producing a complex body of lay, expert and documentary evidence to really understand KG’s plight, personal and work history, attitude and mental state, including signs of paranoia. We had to deal carefully but decisively with the consequences of our own negative neurospsychological assessment/report which believed there to be (quite wrongly in our view) deliberate exaggeration. We were forced to “drop” this particular expert.

We produced a viewpoint which showed KG as a very badly damaged and traumatised man who had to be looked at holistically in the context of serious multiple injuries and with his life having been turned upside down, particularly in the context of his mental illness. We obtained a range of “before and after” statements which painted a compelling picture of a life transformed, including statements from family, friends, employers etc.

We had to obtain various sets of Polish records and have these professionally translated. We had to work with, and reassure, a somewhat defensive employer who was concerned about his own position in the context of Disability Discrimination issues etc. Nevertheless, we managed to obtain very good supportive employer evidence and we sought in-house employment guidance in relation to issues of Disability Discrimination/employment protection/contract termination issues.

We worked closely with the appointed case manager at Anglia Case Management. We obtained very substantial ongoing interim payments (both by application and by agreement) to set up and maintain a Personal Injury Trust. We were also able to safeguard ongoing State support/benefits and to ensure payment of case management, support, psychological therapy (Polish therapist), psychiatric treatment/therapy (Polish psychiatrist) and vocational rehabilitation costs.

Case Details

George Ide’s personal injury team obtained an award for KG of £500,000 – an increase of five times the amount first advised by Counsel in conference in 2007.

We worked closely with Polish translators, developing a rapport/bond between them and KG, to effectively become part of the team.

The team comprised Paul Fretwell, Marcus Grant of Counsel with leading experts David Price (neurosurgeon), Gaius Davies (psychiatrist), and Ian Winspur (hand/orthopaedic), “hands on” case manager, Pam Bunting, and our in-house trust team of Ian Mellor and John Atkinson. We obtained extensive guidance from our in-house employment lawyer, Julian Bobak.

Thoughts

We believe we were able to get “under the skin” of this case to really understand, and work closely with KG, in order to get across the crucial issues of KG’s Polish cultural background, work ethic and male role. Paul Fretwell was not afraid to advise upon and advance a “bold” strategy for the benefit of KG, including not taking Counsel’s initial advice on quantum at face value, incurring substantial but vital translator fees (all recoverable in full), not being afraid to “drop” a damaging expert (neuropsychologist) for the good of KG and the case, not being afraid to be brave with interim payment applications and with the rehabilitation issue; all of this paid off in that we were able to help greatly improve KG’s quality of life throughout the case and interim payments in this case were over £100,000. They proved to be no more than a reasonable proportion of the final award.

The bond of trust between Paul Fretwell and KG was of vital importance as the claimant found it understandably difficult (particularly with language difficulties) to trust anyone, principally professionals. We were also able to develop a good working relationship with Defence Solicitor Anne Davies, based on mutual respect.