Personal Injury
Serious Injury

‘My spinal cord injury changed life for my entire family, but we’ve been so fortunate to have such fantastic support’

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Samuel McFadyen

Manager of Serious Injury (Hull)

9 min read time

Five years ago – having suffered life-changing spinal injuries and been left paralysed from the waist down in a horrific motorway accident – Svilen Mihov says he felt his life was ‘all but over.’

He admits he was ‘desperate’ and constantly worried about how he would provide for his wife and children, expecting to spend the rest of his life confined to his bed.

Today, having benefitted from a dedicated package of serious injury specialist support, he and his family say their darkest days are well behind them, and that they are looking forward with positivity and planning the beginning of a new exciting chapter in their lives.

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Road traffic accident caused spinal cord injury

Mr Mihov was left paralysed by the spinal cord injury he suffered in October 2018, when he was a passenger in a minibus involved in a road traffic accident.

He also needed emergency surgery on a tear to the main artery carrying blood away from his heart and blood draining from his chest. Other injuries included three broken ribs, a collapsed lung, liver damage, and a ruptured spleen. He was in intensive care for three weeks and spent months in specialist spinal units before being discharged home.

“In that time you think your life is finished because you are just lying in bed and not moving. I thought that my life now will be confined to my bed, and I worried how I’d look after my family and provide for them,” he said.

“I tried to tell my wife not to worry, but when I was alone I was often crying because I did not know what was going to happen. I was desperate.”

Mrs Mihov added: “Our lives were forever changed. Things that we took for granted, the simplest of things in day to day life, became difficult and a challenge, and that takes a lot of getting used to.

When an accident like this happens, all of a sudden the life you all knew is gone. Everything was uncertain, dark and depressing because we did not know what the future would hold for us, or how we would live.

We tried to not show each other our worries, but we were both worried what the future would hold.

Serious injury case provided package of support and secured £4.6m compensation

As part of a personal injury claim with Hudgell Solicitors’ serious injury team, specialist support has been dedicated over the past five years to not only meeting Mr Mihov’s needs, but also ensuring his wife Ainura, and their daughters have also had all the assistance and support they have required.

They have benefitted from dedicated and personalised support focused on best meeting their physical, psychological, medical, practical and financial needs.

This included funding of a specialist spinal cord case manager being appointed to coordinate and oversee a dedicated rehabilitation package for Mr Mihov, which included weekly sessions of spinal physiotherapy, occupational therapy and support from a psychologist.

Interim payments were also quickly secured from the defendant insurers and an agreement reached to fund a move out of the family’s two bedroomed flat into more suitable accommodation, which was specially adapted to provide more space and greater accessibility, including a ground floor bedroom and shower room.

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Thousands of pounds worth of aids and equipment were also funded, including wheelchairs, a standing frame, home gym equipment, hoists and supports and an adapted vehicle for Mr Mihov to drive.

Now, a final damages settlement of £4,625,000 has been secured, with an agreement in place to ensure further damages can be secured should Mr Mihov’s spinal condition seriously deteriorate in later life.

This settlement is now being used by the family to fund the purchase of a new six-bedroom family home in Wales which meets all their needs equipped with its own swimming pool and steam room.

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‘Now we’re looking forward to the future’

I can’t begin to imagine how life would have been for us without all the support we have had. We wouldn’t have known where to start but the legal claim opened doors to invaluable help.

We were of course very unlucky with regards to what happened to Svilen and the impact his injuries have had on our lives as a family, but we also know we have been lucky to have such wonderful support,

If you don’t have a legal claim like we did, it would be a constant struggle. When we needed help or advice, we’ve had a team of people there to do things for us. It has been tremendous.

“There is the obvious physical impact of an injury like this, but also, we found it to have a big impact on mental health, for all of us. I needed psychological support also, as our relationship changed from husband and wife to me being effectively a carer for Svilen,” said Mrs Mihov.

“All of our relationships as a family changed and that is damaging. The psychological support has been absolutely essential in us learning to adapt and accept how our relationships have changed.”

Looking forward, Mr and Mrs Mihov are to fund ongoing support and input from their case manager from the damages they have received.

“After all the support and help we’ve had, it’s a bit daunting to think the legal case is over and now we have to move on with the rest of our lives. For that reason, we’ve decided to keep on our case manager, as they know our history, and what we need going forward,” said Mrs Mihov.

“We now have the funds to buy a property that meets all of our needs as a family moving forward, with all the equipment and space required. The property we are buying also has a swimming pool, which is a huge plus for us as Svilen has found hydrotherapy to be really effective for him.

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“At present Svilen is often isolated from the family as he gets tired and he has to go to the bedroom. In the new house we’ll make sure he can always be part of the family.

“We will focus on ensuring he is able to spend more time with us, but also feel more independent. I hope to regain some of my independence too by perhaps going back to work when we have carers at home.”

Serious injury solicitor ‘privileged’ to have supported family

Specialist catastrophic injury solicitor Samuel McFadyen, of Hudgell Solicitors, led the case and was supported by Laura Rowan.

He said: “It has been my absolute privilege to represent Svilen and his family and to ensure they have had a dedicated team at their side, at all times, providing specialist help, support and advice.

When I first met the family, they were living in a small rented flat which was completely impractical for them. Initially it was a priority to move them into a suitably adapted property to allow for Svilen to be discharged home to his family safely, which we did, and now, with the case reaching a settlement, they are in a position where they can purchase a home that meets all their future requirements.

Over the years we have ensured they have benefited from thousands of pounds worth of specialist aids and equipment to promote the best possible return to independent living.

“Both Svilen and Ainura have also benefited from psychological treatment and support to help them adjust and better cope with how their lives had forever changed. The dynamics of family life changed for all of them, as did their relationships with one another, and these are huge things to accept and understand.

“Physiotherapy has also been vital for Svilen, and he has really benefitted from exercising at home with a dedicated spinal physiotherapist as well as accessing a hydrotherapy pool as part of his rehabilitation.

“Throughout the past five years there have been some very difficult days, but Svilen and Ainura have been an absolute pleasure to represent and have been so grateful for every bit of help they have received.  We of course wish them well for the future, and we are here for them to help again as and when required.”

Mr Mihov said: “My injury impacted not only my life, but the lives of all my family.

Sam and Hudgells have been there for us since he first came to see me at my hospital bed and have covered every aspect of our lives. We don’t refer to Sam as our solicitor, to us he is like family. We cannot thank Sam, Laura and Hudgells enough for all they have done for me during a very dark period in my life. We will be forever grateful for that support. Now I am excited and waiting to move into our home now which I can provide for my family.

Hudgell Solicitors’ serious injury pledge

As part of our serious injury support, we pledge to offer all of our clients and their families:

  • Immediate practical help – Dealing with issues from speaking to police, insurers and employers to assisting with probate.
  • Medical assessments and treatment – We will work to arrange rehabilitation and mental health support.
  • Buddy support – Where we can, we introduce clients to ‘buddies’ – others who have suffered similar injuries.
  • Financial assistance – We always seek early interim payments to provide the support required, and signpost clients to charitable funds.
  • Pro Bono support – Our lawyers are willing to use their expertise and contacts to make life easier for clients beyond the case, from helping with benefits appeals and employment advice to inquest representation.
  • Long-term support – Not only do we focus on securing the highest possible damages, we also provide access to independent investment advice to ensure damages have maximum positive impact.

Read more: Serious Injury Claims

Download guide

Life Changing Injury Handbook

Hudgell’s approach to serious injury. More than just legal support.

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