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Novum Law secures £4.3 million compensation for young man left brain damaged for life when friend lost control of car to avoid hitting a fox.
- Teenager suffered a severe brain injury in serious car crash as his friend swerved to avoid a fox in the road
- Six years after the accident, Jack Mitchell suffers severe personality and behavioural difficulties
- He will need access to specialist rehabilitative care and support for the rest of his life
- Subjected to ‘extremely intrusive surveillance’ by the Defendants leaving Jack and his mother fearing for their personal safety
The Mother of a young man who suffered a massive brain injury following a serious car crash on the A227 in Kent has spoken of her immense relief after specialist personal injury lawyers at Novum Law secured him a vital £4.3 million care and support package today (12 October 2015) which will help him for the rest of his life.
Jack Mitchell from South East London was just 17 years old when he was travelling as a front seat passenger in his friend’s Fiat Punto after a night out on the evening of 4 March 2009, when the driver lost control of his car after swerving to avoid a fox in the road resulting in a horrific collision.
The Bexley College student, who was studying to become an electrician, suffered serious injuries in the crash, including multiple fractures to his left leg, lacerations to the back of his head and ear, but the most severe damage was a traumatic injury to the frontal lobe of his brain.
This has resulted in Jack suffering long-term, major, personality and behavioural difficulties leaving him with serious problems with his memory, ability to concentrate, planning and organising skills and suffers from aggression and anger management issues and extreme fatigue.
Jack spent two months at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent and was then admitted to the West Kent Neuro Rehabilitation Unit for just three weeks before being discharged into the care of his family.
The family felt they had been let down by the system – Jack’s physical injuries were healing but the extent and severity of the damage to his brain and the resulting serious behavioural and personality issues were not being addressed and they desperately needed professional advice and expert care and support for their son.
It was clear to them that the severity of his brain injury meant that Jack would be unable to resume his college course or part-time job.
Desperate for help, they initially instructed a firm of solicitors but it became apparent to them that they needed to work with a specialist personal injury law firm with specific experience in complex brain injury cases.
They were recommended Novum Law, expert personal injury lawyers specialising in traumatic brain injuries, to fight their corner to help Jack gain access to the rehabilitation treatment and regular care and support needed to help him cope on a day-to-day basis.
Huw Ponting, a Partner at Novum Law, along with Jack’s Case Manager immediately got to work, getting Jack settled into a residential rehabilitation centre, the Queen Elizabeth Foundation in Banstead, Surrey, with extensive experience helping people with severe brain injuries. He also quickly identified that Jack would benefit from taking part in a supported independent living trial which commenced in November 2012.
Unfortunately, as if dealing with the aftermath of a terrible car crash is not enough, Jack and his mother Frances were subjected to extremely intrusive surveillance commissioned by the Defendant’s insurers. While out shopping one day, they had the terrifying experience of being followed from shop to shop by two men. They had no idea that the men were private investigators appointed by the Defendants and thought their lives were in danger.
Jack’s mother, Frances Mitchell, said: “We were terrified and thought we were being targeted by a criminal gang. The surveillance put us in fear for our safety and the experience really dented Jack’s confidence. It remains a factor in his everyday decision-making affecting where he goes, when and with whom.”
Huw Ponting added: “Surveillance reports have their place in cases where physical injuries have taken place in order to prevent fraudulent claims, however when a victim has a brain injury and by all extents and purposes, looks completely normal and the damage is less evident, it does not really add to the Defendant’s case and is in fact, counter-productive. Jack is an extremely vulnerable young man and the fear and upset this unfortunate episode caused is something he will never forget.
“Fortunately, now the case has been settled, Jack and his family can move on with their lives, secure in the knowledge that Jack will get the ongoing, long-term care and support he so desperately needs.”
Frances added that the years since the crash has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the whole family, including Jack’s older sister Carly, who has had to put some of her life on hold to help her brother and support her parents.
She said: “It is absolute agony to see your child suffer a brain injury and to watch them struggle every day. Before his accident, Jack was a fit and healthy, motivated young man, hoping to qualify as an electrician and working part-time at Morrisons. Since the accident, we’ve had to come to terms with the fact that we have lost the Jack we knew and our lives will never be the same again.
“We are hugely relieved and happy that the case has now been settled and we can try and draw a line under the past six years and continue with Jack’s rehabilitation and recovery.”
Jack now lives independently in a small rented house in South East London with daily help from support workers. He has achieved qualifications at college but has been unable to undertake any paid employment since the accident.