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Car accident with multiple injuries – case study

The claimant, a 24-year-old woman, received £70,000 for multiple injuries, including a perforated colon, sustained in a road traffic accident in June 2002. The claimant underwent a colostomy and was left with permanent scarring on her abdomen.

Claimant: Female: 20 years old at date of accident; 24 years old at date of settlement.

Road Traffic: On June 26, 2002, the claimant (C) was stationary at a junction when the defendant (D) drove into the back of her vehicle. As a result of the impact, C’s car was crushed to half its normal length.

C sustained multiple injuries and brought an action against D alleging that D’s negligent driving had caused the accident.

Liability admitted.

Injuries: C sustained a minor head injury, a soft tissue injury to her back, a perforated colon, multiple lacerations and bruising.

Effects: Following the accident, C experienced a short period of post-traumatic amnesia. She was hospitalised for four days and re-admitted three weeks later on account of stomach pains. A laparotomy revealed that C had a perforated colon and she underwent a colostomy during which part of her colon and small bowel was resected. Ten months later, C underwent reversal surgery. As a result of the operation, C was left with severe asymmetrical scarring to her abdomen, which caused her embarrassment and distress.

C also suffered from an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressive reaction and a course of cognitive behavioural therapy was recommended.

C’s employment as a children’s nanny was affected by her ill-health but in any event she chose to return to college to study. Her confidence and social skills were compromised by the accident and she became extremely introverted.

C’s back injury resolved within two years of the accident without any specific treatment being necessary.

Prognosis: C was expected to make a good physical and psychological recovery but cosmetic surgery would only improve her scarring by 50 per cent.

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Out of Court Settlement: £70,000 total damages.

Background to damages: The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages. The settlement took into account estimates for future cosmetic surgery costs and medication, loss of earnings, gratuitous care and cognitive behavioural therapy. However, the claimant’s solicitors estimated the following breakdown:

Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £50,000.

Breakdown of Special Damages: £20,000.

Lloyd Green (Chelmsford) for the claimant. Barlow Lyde & Gilbert for the defendant.

LTLPI 12/10/2006 (Unreported elsewhere)

This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of Nicholas Chatters of Lloyd Green (Chelmsford), solicitor for the claimant.