Personal Injury
Serious Injury

‘Brain injury impacted on every aspect of my life, but now I have stability, a new home and career prospects to look to the future’

Thomas and Eve on their wedding day

Samuel McFadyen

Manager of Serious Injury (Hull)

7 min read time
03 Aug 2021

Moving into a new home is a milestone moment for any couple – but for husband and wife Thomas and Eve, it is truly the start of a positive new beginning.

For the past seven-and-a-half years Thomas has been rebuilding his life having suffered serious injuries – including a brain injury – when hit by a car on a pelican crossing.

He suffered extensive long-term physical and psychological injuries impacting on every aspect of his life.

But today, having recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary, the couple are settling into life in their new home which Thomas was able to buy thanks to a damages settlement secured on his behalf by Hudgell Solicitors.

Thomas's new family home bought with the damages settlement
Thomas’s new family home bought with the damages settlement

Thomas, 35, of Birmingham, is also in the final year of university studies in occupational therapy, having passed the modules he has taken so far, meaning the couple are now looking forward to hopefully easier times ahead.

“It has been a long and hard seven years since my accident, but having now moved into our own home, with the financial security of my compensation settlement, and being close to the end of my studies, I really do feel in a good place,” Thomas said.

“I feel like we can now really look forward to the rest of our lives. That is a good place to be in, and one we have reached with a tremendous amount of support from many people over the past seven years.”

Dedicated rehabilitation support in every aspect of life

Thomas needed dedicated support from the moment his accident happened.

He was rushed to hospital – where he remained for two months – having suffered a head injury, chest injury, fractured ribs and pneumothorax, fractured left tibia and fibula, a fractured left scapular, damage to the liver and a perforated bowel.

Diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he suffered from a high degree of anxiety and his speech was affected, leaving him with a bad stutter. He had problems with memory, organisation and planning, each of which has had a major impact on his life and his recovery.

Brain injury
Thomas in hospital after his accident

Often unable to sleep due to nightmares, he would wake up confused and shouting or screaming, and found it difficult to follow conversations. He’d often choose to avoid large gatherings, struggling with his mood and temper when unable to do normal day to day tasks he had been able to do before.

When instructed to handle his injury claim, Hudgell Solicitors quickly identified the need for a complete package of emotional and psychological assistance to complement his physical rehabilitation.

This was agreed with the defendant insurers, who agreed to fund the cost of instructing a multi-disciplinary support team, overseen by a specialist brain injury case manager, even though there was still an ongoing dispute over the sequencing of the lights at the pelican crossing, and who had right of way when Thomas’s accident happened.

That team included a support worker, a physiotherapist, a speech and language therapist, a neuropsychologist, an occupational therapist and a cognitive behavioural therapist, who were all enlisted to provide dedicated support.

Over the years Thomas’ rehabilitation programme has been adapted as he has progressed and had changing needs, from initially focusing on reducing pain with physio to developing a speech and language strategy, helping him better retain information and supporting him to better manage his day to day life.

University course was inspired by support received

Crucially, support has also been tailored to help Thomas through his studies for a BSc (hons) in occupational therapy at the University of Coventry, assisting him in managing workloads and assignments.

The goal of securing the qualification is something Thomas says gave him clear purpose and drive.

“I can’t really explain how difficult it is to start rebuilding your life after an injury like I suffered. It is hard to be motivated and positive and easy to become frustrated and angry,” he said.

“Eve has been brilliant. We were together when I had the accident and we’ve been married for three years now. She understands how difficult it has been for me, how my life changed and how I changed and the support I have needed to help me recover.

“I’ve really benefitted from the team Hudgells built around me.

“I’ve had support to help me overcome the issues I have faced and better manage the daily demands of life given the struggles I have with my memory and fatigue, and of course throughout my studies.

“The occupational therapist and neuropsychologist had a hugely positive impact on me, helping me overcome many issues as I suffered from night terrors and wouldn’t leave the house for quite some time.

“The support I received was what inspired me to choose to study occupational therapy at university.

“It has helped me transform and rebuild my life. I still get days where I struggle, but they happen so much less, and I know now how to manage those tougher days.

“I would love to be able to provide that support for others who find themselves in a similar position to me in the future.”

Damages paid into Trust to ensure best protection for future

Catastrophic injury specialist and Associate Solicitor Samuel McFadyen, of Hudgell Solicitors, handled Thomas’ injury claim and oversaw his continued rehabilitation support, which included just over £60,000 worth of private treatment on top of NHS care.

He said: “This has been a rewarding case to be involved in as all parties involved have been dedicated to providing Thomas with the very best support from the start to assist his recovery. That is why he is in such a positive position now.

“Thomas’s life changed overnight following his accident and it can be very difficult to overcome the psychological impact of an accident like the one he suffered, as well of course as the physical impact.

“Over the past few years the issue of the traffic light sequencing and who had right of way has been disputed and we finally came to an agreement where Thomas had to accept some responsibility for being hit, although of course the car driver was mostly to blame. This impacted on the final settlement agreed.

“However, throughout the case we have been supported tremendously by the defendant insurer in providing access to the very best specialist support for Thomas to aid his recovery.

“We ended by agreeing a very good damages settlement too. This collaborative way of working, where the needs of the injured person have always come first, ensured we were able to provide relevant and timely support, meaning there have been no breaks or delays in rehabilitation, ensuring continued progress for Thomas over the years.

“To have helped him make such a positive recovery, see him succeed in his studies and move into a new home with Eve has been so pleasing and we wish him well for the future.”

As part of the package of services provided by Hudgell Solicitors, Thomas was offered ‘Life after Settlement’ advice through specialist financial advisers.

The bulk of his settlement of £588,000, after legal deductions, was paid into a Trust, from which the new home was purchased, providing extra levels of protection for the future.

“The benefits of my settlement being held in a Trust, which I control and get specific financial advice over have been really helpful,” Thomas said.

“It means my home ownership is protected and should I struggle to find work, as despite my progress I am at a disadvantage in the job market, I can still access support to help me and ensure my settlement goes as far as it can in supporting me for the rest of my life.

“Every possible thing which can impact on my future has been taken into account, considered and planned for. That is really reassuring.”

Related Article

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Other clients we have helped after suffering a brain injury

Blog – Returning to work after a brain injury

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‘Brain injury impacted on every aspect of my life, but now I have stability, a new home and career prospects to look to the future’

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