Matthew Burke knows first-hand just how fragile life can be – and how crucial the right care and support is on the road to recovery after a serious accident.
Our client Matthew went from being a fit and healthy footballer to the brink of death when falling just five feet off a step-ladder at work.
The scaffolder was knocked unconscious, suffering bleeding on the brain and left unable to walk, scarred for life, and facing a battle for survival.
It was a battle that he incredibly won. Despite a five hour operation and doctors warning that he was much more likely to die than survive, he was out of hospital in just over month.
However, Matthew then discovered his battle had only just begun. He had to learn to walk again, was left out of work and unable to socialise. He was left living largely in isolation, and in his own words, facing ‘some dark days’.
When Matthew turned to our team for help, we recognised that he needed not only our legal expertise and experience, but also our understanding and support to access vital counselling and rehabilitation.
Matthew is now using the six-figure settlement sum that we secured for his injury, to cover the loss of earnings and make up for the prejudice that he now experiences in the job market.
He has bought his own house, has his independence back and is now working as a support care worker himself. Again in his own words, he is ‘really enjoying life’.
His inspirational story made headlines in the Hull Daily Mail, and he is in no doubt that without the counselling support we actively pursued for him, he would not have rebuilt his life so successfully.
I had great counselling support and it was absolutely crucial to my recovery. My solicitor, Jane Woodcock was amazing. She kept me focused and positive at all times, and if ever the counselling team needed a nudge, she was there making sure I had all the support I needed – Jane was someone I felt able to talk to as she seemed to understand my situation and the difficulties I faced. I have managed to find positivity, I am active again, and I have my work and social life back.Matthew, now 30
Matthew’s outlook on life differs far from that shortly after suffering his life-changing injury when falling from step ladders just 5ft high.
He had been manually lifting scaffolding onto some shelving at his workplace – a job he had done every day – but one which broke health and safety laws given the height and weight of objects being lifted without support or machinery.
Standing at 5ft 7in tall himself, his head felt the full force of impact with the concrete floor from a combined height of more than 10ft up.
“From being a fit and healthy young man I went to being at death’s door in a matter of seconds, and that really brought it home to me how fragile life can be.
At the time I played football for teams on both Saturdays and Sundays and it was a great social activity, but after my injury I hardly saw any of them at all as many didn’t have cars and lived on the other side of the city.
I lived with my partner and her young child at the time also, and we had been looking at houses and planning to get married, but my situation put a big strain on the relationship and simply it didn’t survive it, my social life pretty much ended and I found myself sat alone at home.
There were some dark days where I felt down, and I admit that I felt isolated. It was the counselling that helped lift my spirits, kept me positive and gave me some focus to where I was heading. I was calmer and more relaxed, and focussed on the end goal.”
Matthew’s story highlights just how important constant support and counselling is for people suffering from brain injuries, and more importantly, just how that support can help people put their lives back together and to start moving forward againJane Woodcock, senior legal executive.