Finding the right legal support after my injury

I was something of a fitness fanatic at the time of my accident in December 2021. Despite being almost 75, I was doing a lot of hill walking and cycling. About 6,000 miles per year. I was cycling when the accident happened. The HGV passed on my inside as I was about to turn right. It passed so closely that I lost balance and fell. The HGV ended up running over my left leg. I remember lying in a pool of blood and trying to shuffle to the pavement.

The emergency services were great and soon I was being airlifted to Leeds. Before anything was said, I knew that my leg could not be saved. This was confirmed after an X-Ray showed my foot and lower leg to be “mush”. If I had refused amputation I would have had to undergo numerous operations, be in constant pain, and may have ended up losing my leg anyway. They told me that prosthetics were marvellous these days and it was the best route under the circumstances. I told them to amputate.

I was in hospital for a full month, during which I was in theatre four times, then a fifth two weeks after coming home. The leg was saved from just below the knee, but the injury was described as “traumatic”.

Someone from Day One came to see me a few times. They gave me various details and lots of literature, which I read thoroughly. I am a very realistic person and thought: it has happened, deal with it. I have had challenges before and got through them. This was not a challenge I wanted, but I knew that what happened next was up to me. I am also quite a private person and wanted to be left to get on with it in my own way. I didn’t involve Day One or my allocated psychiatrist too much, although I knew they were always there should I need them, and always friendly and willing to assist in any way.

Day One gave me information about their legal panel, which included contact details for solicitors who deal with accidents like mine. One of them was Sintons. My family suggested I go with a local solicitor to make it easier. The local firm came to see me a week or so after I got home and seemed to be informative and positive. However, as time went on, I got very little feedback from them. I was allocated a Case Manager in May who I found to be very good, but they also struggled with communication from my solicitor: they didn’t return calls and didn’t respond to requests for information. I was told the solicitor was massively holding back the process. It came to a head in the September when I didn’t receive some promised information by a given date, putting me in a difficult situation.

I spoke to my Case Manager about the specialist law firms that make up Day One’s Legal Panel for my area. They recommended Sintons as they had previously provided excellent support for other people like me. I then dispensed with the local firm and went with Sintons. From then on I got weekly updates from Phil Davison at Sintons, who I found extremely thorough, helpful and friendly. Things soon began to progress.

Earlier last year in a frank discussion with Phil I was told that although he felt I had a very good case, it could take two to three years to come to court, and nothing was guaranteed, it was effectively down to the judge on the day. I was then 76, and when the defendant’s insurers made an offer I decided to take it. I did not want my remaining years taken up by legal proceedings. I just wanted to get on with my life and make the best of what is left, free of the hassle of litigation.

I struggled with the NHS prosthetic I got to begin with. I endured a year of blisters, frequent skin breakdowns, bleeding, and then infections. Phil put me in touch with Steps Prosthetics in Sheffield and I have been attending there since July this year, and I feel I have made a lot of progress. I have had no problems since my private fitting, and although I am not back on a bike, I am able to walk five or six miles most days.

I think it is important to get the right advice on legal matters from a specialist as early as possible when you have a traumatic injury. Not only can a specialist manage your case properly, firms like Sintons can also help with other problems that arise because of your injury. Now the legal proceedings have come to an end and I have a better prosthetic, I feel like I can get on with my life.

*Featured on Day One’s Trauma Support website, January 2024.

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