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August 15th 2014

Accidents in Public Places

‘I watched in horror as car ploughed into my two-year-old son’s pushchair…I thought he was dead.’

Jane Woodcock

Jane Woodcock

Senior Legal Executive and Head of Personal Injury

‘I watched in horror as car ploughed into my two-year-old son’s pushchair…I thought he was dead.’

For Amy Robinson, the image of a car striking the side of the pushchair carrying her two-year-old son Zak will never leave her. It was a moment of sheer horror and panic that returns to her mind every time she nears a road with her children, making the 29-year-old extra vigilant at all times.

For Amy Robinson, the image of a car striking the side of the pushchair carrying her two-year-old son Zak will never leave her.

It was a moment of sheer horror and panic that returns to her mind every time she nears a road with her children, making the 29-year-old extra vigilant at all times.

“I will never lose that image,” said the mum of three from Beverley, East Yorkshire.

“The pushchair was hit and dragged along the road and then it tipped over. I was in sheer panic, wondering if Zak was alive or dead.”

Mrs Robinson, who is disabled after falling out of a tree when she was 13, saw her life, and that of her children, flash before her.

Despite being knocked out of her wheelchair and suffering a broken leg herself in the accident on the crossing in Wednesday Market, Beverley, not for one second were Amy’s thoughts for her own safety and well-being.

For at the time, in December 2011, she was 17 weeks pregnant, and her only concerns were for Zak, and her unborn baby.

“I will never lose the image of seeing a car plunge into the side of the buggy. My natural reaction was to keep hold of the buggy,” she said.

“Zak didn’t make a sound at first as he had been asleep in the pushchair, so I was left waiting for a cry to know he was ok. I honestly thought he would be dead.

“I was clinging onto the pushchair all the time, and once I saw Zak was fine, my thoughts immediately turned to the fact I was pregnant and then the health of my baby.

“You can’t see your unborn child, so you have no idea of whether serious damage has been caused. It was a very worrying time.”

Incredibly, Amy and Zak were hit on the apparent safety of a zebra crossing. She had entered the crossing with plenty of time for the oncoming traffic to see her and stop only for a car, driven by an elderly man, to continue straight into them.

Mrs Robinson was with her husband and full-time carer, Craig, now 32, and their son, Josh, now 11, at the time.

The incident had a big impact on Amy, both in the months after the accident, when she was had her leg fixed in a straight position, and even to today.

“I ended up going to see a counsellor over it,” she said.

“It was only the beginning of last year that I went to town without going in a car. It took me two years because I didn’t want to cross a road.”

Mrs Robinson is sharing her story to mark National Road Victims Month, a campaign run to raise awareness of safety issues on the country’s roads, and remember those injured or killed.

The event is held in August each year as there is increased risk of children being injured or killed while on holiday from school, and for those travelling on holiday being involved in a car crash.

Her brush with death has made Mrs Robinson far more aware of the dangers of the road, and she says she sees many instances of people failing to take enough care when crossing.

“You see people run across the road with their kids,” said Mrs Robinson.

“I always have to try and use the crossings because I need the kerbs to be flat, so my incident shows that just because you are on a crossing, you are not necessarily safe. It wasn’t like I had missed it and bolted across the road or anything.

“I’m very cautious now and I don’t even use that crossing anymore. I go the long way around to avoid it.”

Mrs Robinson, who is now also mum to daughter Skye, two, who was uninjured from the accident, said she continues to suffer problems with her leg, as it doesn’t bend properly and she has had blood clots.

“For the first three or four months, I didn’t leave the house. My leg was fixed in a straight position. I’m already disabled and couldn’t walk anyway, but I couldn’t use my own wheelchair after it happened and I didn’t feel safe in the chair I had to use instead.”

Mrs Robinson has recently received an undisclosed amount of compensation for her pain and suffering as a result of the accident.

And Jane Woodcock, senior legal executive at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, says such accidents have a long-lasting impact on the victims and their families, even if they don’t prove fatal.

““This accident had a long-lasting effect on Amy both physically and psychologically,” she said.

“Given she had Zak in the buggy at the time, and was pregnant with Skye, she went through all of the worry related to their health and safety at a time when she had suffered a nasty broken leg herself.

“This accident left her in considerable pain and discomfort throughout her pregnancy, losing her skills and independence, and placing a great strain on her emotionally and physically.

“We are delighted to have brought this case to a successful conclusion for Amy and hope she and her lovely family have a happy and safe life.”

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