Compensation for stoma and bowel injuries

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Case study of a woman who was seriously injured in a car crash in August 2016.

Our client was a front seat passenger in a car which was being driven by her friend. They had been for a day out shopping in Plymouth and were travelling home to Cornwall when a van crossed over in front of their car. Our client’s friend had no choice but to swerve to try to avoid colliding directly with the van. She lost control and the car left the dual carriageway, ultimately crashing into a fence and a tree.

Bowel injuries requiring a stoma

Our client was wearing a seat-belt but still suffered serious injuries to her abdomen. She also received a blow to her head, a fractured her lower back and had various ‘soft tissue’ injuries to her legs and body. She was transferred to hospital where she had emergency surgery for her abdominal injury. Unfortunately, there was traumatic injury to the bowel which could not be repaired and our client was ultimately left with a permanent stoma bag. She spent many months in hospital and suffered various complications with the wound, including repeated infections. She was then transferred to a hospital closer to home for convalescence.

Compensation claim

It was against this background that we were appointed to recover compensation. We were able to represent our client on a No Win No Fee basis.

In the meantime the van driver who had caused the accident was prosecuted for careless driving, an offence to which she pleaded guilty and received a fine and penalty points on her license.

We obtained the accident report from the police which contained the defendant’s insurance details. A formal Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant and her insurance company.

The insurance company admitted liability for the accident. this meant that we could focus on assessing the extent of our clients injuries and loss and building a case that would enable us to recover maximum compensation on her behalf.

Funding for rehabilitation

The insurers agreed to our request to fund a rehabilitation programme to help our client with her recovery. We also obtained ‘interim payments’ for her, which are effectively an advance on the compensation she would ultimately receive.

We obtained the medical records from all the hospitals where our client had been treated and arranged for an independent consultant gastrointestinal surgeon to examine her and prepare a court report about the injuries she had suffered. he thought there was a chance that her bowel could be repaired. However, he advised that the surgery would be risky and involve a long period of rehabilitation afterwards. We obtained further information about the procedure from various hospitals. We wanted to identify the specific risks involved and recovery period. It was a difficult choice for our client, but given the extent of the risks, our client’s age and the fact that she had diabetes she ultimately decided not to undergo further surgery and instead opted to live with the stoma.

Out of court settlement

We therefore pressed on with obtaining evidence so that we could value our client’s claim. We instructed an orthopaedic surgeon to report on the fracture in her lower back as well as the soft tissue injuries. We also instructed an expert in care to prepare a report on the care and assistance our client had required to date and would continue to require in the future.

The insurance company made a formal offer to settle the claim out of court for the sum of £160,000.

We arranged for our client to meet with a specialist Personal Injury barrister to discuss the offer. After careful consideration our client decided to accept the offer of compensation. She was delighted with the settlement, saying it surpassed what she had ever imagined she would receive.

Personal injury trust

We then set up a special Personal Injury Trust for the money to be invested in. This meant that her compensation will be disregarded when assessing her eligibility for welfare benefits, therefore ensuring that she will be able to continue to receive some benefits for everyday living.

How we can help you

If you have suffered a bowel injury or require a stoma and would like to seek compensation then call our free helpline on 0800 955 1038 or email us at info@sbclaims.co.uk