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Firm secures £7.2 million settlement for client in personal injury case
Mon 24th Jan 2011 Personal injury
Blake Lapthorn is pleased to announce that its client Kevin Cleightonhills has today been awarded £7.2 million at a brain injury approval hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Kevin was 21-years-old, from Isle of Wight and had lived in London for a few years but returned to the Island to work at Bembridge Outboards Limited boat yard for the summer. On 18 September 2006, he was standing on a metal gantry that collapsed underneath him and he fell 12 -15 ft onto concrete below and landed on his feet but was struck on the head by metal work that followed. He suffered a severe head injury and following initial investigations at St Mary's Hospital Isle of Wight was airlifted to Wessex Neurological Centre for emergency surgery. His parents were told that he had a 5% chance of survival. Kevin underwent emergency surgery and remained at the unit for a few days. He was transferred back to the Island but had to be airlifted back to Wessex for further surgery when he developed post traumatic hydrocephalus. His forehead was removed due to the severity of his injury and was later replaced by a titanium plate.
When Kevin returned to Isle of Wight he was placed in rehabilitation ward in St Mary's that it equipped for stroke patients rather than those with traumatic ABI. However, he wasn't receiving intensive rehabilitation so needed a placement off the island.
Blake Lapthorn's Personal Injury team was instructed on 1 October 2006, when a letter of claim was sent and a request was made for rehabilitation. The firm appointed a case manager who carried out an initial assessment and obtained a preliminary report from an expert rehabilitation consultant on what was required. Initially, the Defendant insurers were willing to pay for the treatment but then delayed. Blake Lapthorn issued court proceedings on 23 November 2006 and made an application for interim payment. The hearing was adjourned for the parties to try and agree terms and it was agreed that Kevin would be admitted for neuro rehabilitation at the royal national Hospital for Rheumatic Disease (this took place on 29 December 2006). He was there for six months before being transferred to Peartree House in Southampton for more community-based rehabilitation, the aim of which was to enable Kevin to live in his own home with support.
Whilst Kevin was in Peartree House, suitable accommodation was found and steps were taken to recruit and train a care team. Blake Lapthorn made an interim payment for the funds to purchase and adapt the property in September 2007, which was purchased at the end of January 2008 and adaptations undertaken. Kevin was discharged from Peartree House to his own home, after which the Defendants made regular payments to fund his care regime, with a trained round-the-clock five-person care team. Rehabilitation continued for Kevin and strategies were put in place to enable him to live as independently as possible.
Although Kevin has improved since leaving formal rehabilitation and has a good quality of life, he will require constant support for the rest of his life and will never be able to live independently. He is not able to work but does help out in a local charity shop. He has a court appointed Deputy to manage his financial affairs and although he has significant problems with memory, fatigue and initiation the care regime allows him to live in his own home and be an independent and active young man.
Kevin's friends and family have provided invaluable support and are a key factor in his recovery and success of rehabilitation. Derek Wade, Consultant and Professor in Neurological Rehabilitation, commented: "This case illustrates what can be achieved in terms of rehabilitation for someone with a very severe problem given both adequate resources and more importantly, a supportive social and physical environment."
Claire Howard, a partner in the Personal Injury team at Blake Lapthorn in Southampton, who acted for Kevin and his family in bringing the claim, said: "This settlement for Kevin provides the reassurance that he will receive care for the rest of his life and is a case that shows what can be achieved when parties work together.
"His parents and I are now actively involved in Headway Isle of Wight group to raise awareness of brain injury victims and to develop new resources. Little is available on the Island for those with an ABI. The ultimate aim is to open a day centre for victims and families of those with an ABI.
"The judge at today's hearing, His Honour Judge Gary Burrell QC, paid tribute to Kevin's parents and praised them for their 'Fortitude, hard work and integrity'."
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised above, please contact Claire Howard, partner in Blake Lapthorn solicitors’ Personal Injury team in Southampton on 023 8085 7313 or email email@example.com
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