£30,000 Awarded to 12 Year Old Witness of Serious Car Accident

12 December 2019

After witnessing a serious road accident that involved her immediate family, the young girl suffered a lasting psychiatric disorder, which impacted on her studies and future ability to work. Our Serious Injury Solicitors represented her and her family in this extraordinary claim.

Client Situation

Ms I was just 12 years old when she witnessed a very serious road traffic accident involving her family. Her mother, brother and sister were all involved in the accident, which left them with severe and life changing injuries.

Ms I was taken to the scene of the accident by her father, who had been informed of the accident but not of its severity. Upon arrival, Ms I was confronted with a scene of chaos. Emergency services were working to extract her mother and sister from the car. Her brother was lying at the side of the road, bleeding and badly disorientated. Ms I stayed with her brother whilst her father and the emergency services attended to her mother and sister.

The family members involved in the accident were taken by ambulance to hospital, where they were cared for with Ms I's mother and sister both undergoing surgery for their injuries. All those involved in the accident made partial recoveries, but were left with permanent symptoms which impacted upon their daily lives and abilities to work.

The accident had a life-changing impact on the whole family and things would never be the same for any of them. The effect of witnessing such a horrific scene at such a young age had a very profound effect on Ms I, who was traumatised by what she had seen. As a consequence she needed counselling at school and therapy from a professional psychologist following the accident.

Ms I was a gifted student and a diligent worker. Despite the accident she managed to do well with her studies, but her life had been severely disrupted at a critical time. She was left with long term psychological consequences, which meant that she continued to feel especially vulnerable to unexpected events and changes in circumstances.

How We Helped

Ms I's family had instructed the Serious Injury Team at Coop Legal Services to help them and claims were presented on behalf of the entire family for the serious life changing injuries suffered.

The case was assigned to Senior Personal Injury Solicitor, Jason Harries. Jason liaised with the insurers of the other vehicle involved, who accepted that the accident was their driver's fault. They also accepted that Ms I was capable of bringing a claim even though she had not been directly involved in the accident.

Such claims are unusual and very limited under public policy grounds. For this reason, it was essential that expert evidence was obtained from a consultant psychiatrist to support the claim. The psychiatrist carried out an assessment and concluded that Ms I had sustained a recognised psychiatric disorder as a consequence of witnessing the aftermath of such a dreadful accident. Treatment was arranged for Ms I and face to face meetings took place with the family to understand the psychological impact of the accident upon everyone involved, including Ms I in particular.

As Ms I was still a minor, she was advised to wait until she was 18 years of age before making any decisions about settling her claim. We also arranged for Ms I to receive face to face advice from a barrister, to ensure that she had a full understanding as to the possible outcomes of her case and how a Court would value the claim.

The Outcome

Following the barrister's advice, Ms I felt that she was ready to move on with her life and as such she wished to settle her claim. We acted upon Ms I's wishes and negotiated with the insurers on her behalf. We secured a compensation payment in excess of £30,000 for Ms I, which included the cost of any future therapy that might be needed.

Most Serious Injury claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis. Call 0330 606 9587 or contact us online.

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