One morning, EDW was making his way to work as he usually did, walking along Station Road to catch the bus to take him to his job as a cleaner with Westminster Council. EDW is a Spanish national who had moved to the United Kingdom over 20 years ago and had raised his family here. He was a keen football fan who had settled in to life in South London.
Tragically, EDW would never make it in to work that day. As he walked along a pavement, a vehicle collided with him as he was crossing the road, causing devastating injuries. His life, as well as that of his family, would never be the same again.
He was taken hospital where he was treated on the surgical critical care unit. Unsure if he was going to survive, his family had been told that he had suffered a very serious injury to his spinal cord and that he would almost certainly be paralysed. EDW did survive, although it was clear he would be disabled for the rest of his life. EDW had suffered spinal fractures at C4/5 and T12/L1. At the age of just 40-years-old EDW was tetraplegic – with no useful movement from his neck down. He also suffered damage to his optic nerves which led to him being completely blind in both eyes.
Shortly after EDW was admitted to hospital, the family had sought help in bringing legal action against the driver that had caused the accident. It was clear that EDW would be unable to work again and with substantive care and rehabilitation needs, and with police enquiries at an early stage, it was important that they had legal assistance sooner rather than later.
The claim for compensation eventually resulted in a multi-million pound out-of-court settlement with the responsible driver’s insurance company. That settlement included a 24-hour care package for the rest of EDW’s life, ongoing rehabilitation and therapeutic support as well as the means for the family to purchase a new house with all the necessary amenities for somebody who had suffered a severe spinal cord injury.
Most of the clients represented by Anthony Gold’s Injury and Medical Claims team have suffered life-changing injuries. This will often mean that as part of any settlement, the appropriateness and practicalities of their living arrangements post-injury will be examined thoroughly. A suitably adapted property is the foundation of a sustainable rehabilitation and care package in the most serious of catastrophic injury cases. Therefore it is vitally important that home living conditions are as good as they can possibly be when the injured person is ready for life back at home.
In the case of EDW, he lived in a flat which was never going to be suitable for him to return to once he left his residential care home. Using funds from the settlement of the injury claim, the family gave Anthony Gold’s Court of Protection team permission to purchase a new house that was to be adapted to meet EDW’s care and mobility needs. We agreed a house purchase and a further £500,000 of adaptations was budgeted for to transform the property into one that best suited both EDW and his family.
Due to the scale of the renovation project in what was going to be essentially a complete overhaul of every room in the house, we brought in a specialist architect firm.
The property itself was spread over five floors and it needed to accommodate not only five bedrooms, but also a large en-suite wet room leading from EDW’s bedroom, a therapy room, and a lift through the middle of the house to enable step-free access throughout the property.
An important aspect of the renovation work was to ensure there was plenty of light coming in to the property, particularly at the rear of the house where an open plan kitchen leading to a large living area and conservatory was to be situated.
As well ensuring the home was comfortable and a pleasant place for EDW to live, it was vital that it had all of the necessary amenities and state-of-the-art technology that will help not only EDW live as full a life as possible, but also ensure that his carers are able to look after him when carrying out their day-to-day tasks.
Accessibility was the most carefully thought out part of the construction project, with a lift shaft being build that runs from basement level to fourth floor of the house.
EDW is now living at home four days a week where he received professional care around the clock and will shortly return home for good. The purchase and subsequent renovations of the property have ensured that he is able to live at home with his family, in an environment in which he feels more comfortable.
Click here to view the Case Study Images.