A father-of-two has been awarded a five-figure damages settlement after suffering serious injuries when he was hit by a van whilst walking across a zebra crossing.
The man, who lives in East Yorkshire, was working in London as a manager for a support services company when the accident happened.
He was dressed in high-visibility clothing when he was hit by a white Volkswagen Caddy van as he was two-thirds of the way across the crossing.
The 61-year-old rolled up the bonnet, hit the windscreen and was thrown several metres across the road, suffering head injuries. He suffered concussion and needed stitches to the top of his head, as well as treatment for cuts and soft tissue injuries to his face, and injuries to his shoulder, neck, arms and legs.
He was taken to Kings College Hospital for treatment and was forced to take three-and-a-half months off work, losing some level of his income, turning to Hudgell Solicitors for advice.
Following legal representation, the driver’s insurance company, Allianz, accepted fault and agreed to pay £30,000 in damages.
The man said: “Taking legal action was never about the money. It was about the injustice because what happened to me was wrong. I felt angry and frustrated, and I’ve been traumatised since. You think you’re safe on a zebra crossing and I just can’t believe what happened. I still think about it now.
“I dread to think what would have happened if it had been a mother with children. Drivers need to take more care. I was in pieces for months and worried to cross the road. It was so traumatic and it really took me off my axis.
“I couldn’t drive for weeks and my wife had to get me out of bed. I just wanted to shut myself away.”
The man had been making his way back to his office from his regular site rounds when he was struck by the van at Surrey Quays, South East London, at 11.25am on January 18, 2017. Police were called to the scene, but the driver was not arrested and no criminal charges were brought.
Although the driver’s insurance company admitted primary liability, some initial arguments were made that the man was partly responsible, failing to look properly and failing to judge the driver’s vehicle or speed, which was found not to be the case.
The insurance company agreed to the damages settlement and the claim was settled without medical evidence. The man, who has since undergone physio, said he will never forget the events of that day.
“It’s a one-way system, so you only look left,” he said.
“I was safely established on the crossing wearing bright orange high-visibility clothing. I couldn’t have been any more visible. I was thrown almost into the path of other traffic. I was unconscious for about three or four seconds, but then I came around and was in complete shock with severe pain in my head and neck.
“There was no skin left on the top of my head, I needed six stitches and had two black eyes. Just two weeks ago I had to have a tooth removed which has been a problem since the accident and I’ve had a permanent headache since last summer.
“I left the hospital later the same day when my wife arrived from East Yorkshire, as I didn’t want her to be on her own and the hospital were happy as long as I was with a responsible adult.
“But I couldn’t move very much at all for two days after and I was on strong pain killers. She drove me back home a couple of days later and I still wasn’t right. I was backwards and forwards to the doctors while I was off work.”
Support from Hudgell Solicitors was ‘above and beyond’
Karl Griffin of Hudgell Solicitors, handled the man’s case throughout and said: “This was a particularly frightening incident for my client. His injuries at the time were severe and he has been through a very extended recovery period.
“He has done very well to get himself back to work as he is still suffering symptoms now. You expect to be safe on a zebra crossing and I’m pleased we have managed to secure this settlement which I hope goes some way towards recognising the ordeal he has had to endure.”
The man said his experience with Hudgell Solicitors was nothing but positive and praised Karl for his care and attention.
He said: “I’m really happy with the service I received. I wasn’t well at the time I came to see Karl and he dropped everything to sit down, listen and talk to me. He went above and beyond what you would expect and he’s a credit to the company.
“Karl was very attentive and sympathetic to my state of mind, and you couldn’t ask for a better relationship if it was a member of your own family.”