Stewarts client RB, who was seriously injured following a collision in 2018, has been awarded substantial compensation to support him for the rest of his life.

Peregrine Redgrave took a collaborative approach to the litigation with the defendant’s insurer (the Admiral) and the attorney (Rod Evans of Horwich Farrelly), which resulted in a settlement without the need to engage a legal proceeding.

Context of the accident

On October 20, 2018, RB was walking home after spending the evening with his partner when the defendant lost control of his vehicle, causing him to drive onto the sidewalk. RB heroically pushed his partner to safety away from the path of the vehicle, but couldn’t avoid being hit himself, which pinned him against a wall.

RB was taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol, where he received life-saving emergency treatment. He then spent about two weeks in the intensive care unit before being transferred to the trauma and orthopedic department and then to the plastics department, where he remained for a significant time.

He suffered a severe left lower extremity crush injury and fractures, which unfortunately required a high transfemoral (above the knee) amputation. He also suffered multiple pelvic fractures and severe injuries to his lower abdomen, causing damage to his bladder, intestines and genitals.

Prior to the accident, RB led an active lifestyle, being an avid skateboarder, swimmer and amateur tattoo artist. He has worked with children with learning difficulties. His main priorities were to walk again and regain a similar quality of life to what he had before the accident.

Instruction

Peregrine Redgrave received instructions regarding RB’s claim five days after the accident. He met RB and his family in hospital before making early contact with the defendant driver’s insurance company, Admiral, and making inquiries to establish liability as soon as possible.

The Admiral appreciated the severity of RB’s injuries and, just a week after first contact, an interim no-damage payment of £5,000 was secured for him. The Admiral also funded the instruction of a case manager to assess RB’s needs and provide him with support and guidance during this difficult time. The first step taken by Peregrine was to secure the services of a leading amputee case manager, Scott Hodder of Bush & Co, to orchestrate the rehabilitation.

Leave and rehabilitation

Due to his injuries, RB’s rental property before the accident was no longer suitable for his needs, and Peregrine asked a property finder to find another rental property. RB accepted the move to a spacious, accessible apartment in Bristol, which allowed him to move around the property in his wheelchair.

The Admiral and Stewarts took a collaborative approach to RB’s case, which resulted in an early admission of liability despite an ongoing criminal investigation. The Admiral then provided large interim payments, which enabled RB to obtain the highest quality of rehabilitation available to get his life back on track. This case serves as an example of what can be achieved when parties work together, not against each other, and the Admiral is to be commended for the pragmatic and compassionate manner in which he handled the claim.

Peregrine arranged for RB to undergo a private evaluation through the Remedy/ProActive Prosthetics pathway. RB’s treating prosthetist, Alan McDougall, prescribed a state-of-the-art prosthesis, the Genium X3. The Admiral has agreed to fund an intensive four-week residential rehabilitation program at the Kingston Rehabilitation Center under the care of the Remedy team. This team consisted of a consultant in rehabilitation medicine, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a physical rehabilitation instructor and a clinical psychologist.

Peregrine arranged for the Admiral’s claims manager to meet with RB towards the end of his hospital stay to outline the benefits of the rehab program. At this stage, RB was mobilizing well on his prosthesis and becoming more independent, reducing his needs for care and support.

RB was well into his rehabilitation and was determined to make progress despite setbacks from skin breakdown and interruptions to his rehabilitation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Various equipment has been purchased on behalf of RB to build a home gym to enable him to continue his rehabilitation during the nationwide lockdowns. Above all, RB felt fully supported throughout the process.

Once the lockdown restrictions were lifted, RB was excited and determined to pick up where he left off. With support and encouragement from Peregrine, his case manager and treatment team, RB tried out various activities in an effort to replicate the active, adrenaline-fueled lifestyle he had before the accident. This included e-biking, open water swimming, sit-skiing, snowboarding and WCMX under the tutelage of the British WCMX champion and her coach. This required specialized prosthetic support, and RB was given a dedicated water leg to facilitate his activities in the water.

Funding from the interim payments also enabled RB and his partner to go on holiday overseas and in the UK, arranged through a disabled holiday company.

Rules

Stuart McKechnie QC of 9 Gough Chambers, possibly the leading silk on amputee claims in the country, was tasked at various stages throughout the case with providing input and tactical advice. Stuart and Peregrine then conducted negotiations at a settlement meeting where the Admiral agreed to settle the £6 million damages claim. The collaborative approach taken throughout the case was echoed at the settlement meeting, and the defendant’s legal team met with RB at the end of negotiations to wish him the best for the future.

This settlement will allow RB to purchase his own property, which can be tailored to his needs and support his lifelong needs, including state-of-the-art prosthetics, custom-made equipment, treatment/therapy and loss of income. This financial security transformed RB’s life and lifted a huge psychological weight off his shoulders.

Life beyond wounds

RB hopes to buy a suitable property for himself, his partner and their two dogs in Bristol, close to the city centre. He is also interested in starting a new business venture dealing with renting accessible properties to help other people with physical disabilities who have faced similar issues to him. Ultimately, RB has his heart set on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, where he hopes to compete for Great Britain in WCMXing, a sport in which wheelchair athletes perform tricks adapted from skateboarding and BMX, usually performed in a skate park.

Testimonials

RB says:

“After my life changing accident, Peregrine put together an incredible team to help me on my long road to recovery. He was always very supportive, patient and understanding of my personal situation. Couldn’t have asked for better.

Scott Hodder, RB’s case manager, says:

“Since beginning my instruction as a case manager supporting RB, I have received regular communications from Peregrine to ensure that all issues, recommendations, clinical rationales and rehabilitation funds were available for RB to progress in his rehabilitation as needed.

“Peregrine clearly puts its customers first and demonstrates this by always being available to RB, giving advice and pointing it in the right direction when needed. He brings a pleasant and accessible way so that his customers can relax and identify easily. He also brings a very knowledgeable, competent and professional approach to his clients, which gives confidence and encouragement to the client and the entire rehab team. This, in turn, helps the client exceed their rehabilitation goals, as was the case with this client. »

Admiral’s Beth Jones says:

“As defendant insurers, we seek to promote a collaborative working relationship wherever possible and particularly in cases involving such significant injuries. We are happy to have found a sensible opponent in Peregrine and wish RB all the best for a fulfilling and exciting future.