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Dr. Powell's Story
“I was the victim of an appalling accident while cycling back from work. The wing mirror of a 40 tonne truck hit me on the back of the head.
Ironically, I was returning from an advanced first aid course and the first person on the scene was the instructor.
As he tried to help me he said ‘they didn’t tell me you were going to be my bleeding dummy!’
But it was no laughing matter and I was, indeed, bleeding profusely.
The wing mirror had hit me with such force it left an imprint on the back of my head for two months.
I suffered a life-threatening stroke and was in intensive care for over 3 weeks and paralysed for 2 months.
I came out of hospital in a wheelchair and didn’t even start walking again till six months later.
I’m a member of the Unite union and as soon as I could after the accident I spoke to their legal department about making a claim.
They put me onto Thompsons Solicitors, the union’s legal representatives.
Thompsons came to see me at my home and I also went to their offices.
They told me I had a better than 50% chance of making a successful claim and set about the chapter and verse of making my claim as strong as possible.
Independent expert assessments were made of my injuries - a weakened and less controllable left hand created many new problems.
My left leg was also weakened and made walking any distance difficult and made climbing stairs particularly difficult.
I saw a neurosurgeon and a heart expert and as I had developed vertigo I saw an expert about that, too.
Thompsons' cost calculations were very thorough and included loss of earnings, the cost of ongoing physiotherapy and home adaptations.
The accident had been at 4.30 on a November afternoon and Thompsons even anticipated one of the angles the opposition might try to use against me - that I hadn’t had lights on my cycle or wasn’t wearing any high visibility clothing.
But I had had lights on and was also wearing a high vis jacket.
The police had a record of that and Thompsons had checked it.
So when the opposition did try this approach, it did them no credit.
I was in the actual meeting where my settlement was agreed.
My wife was there with me along with Thompsons’ solicitor and Thompsons’ barrister and, of course, there was the team from the opposite side.
We rejected their first 3 offers and accepted the fourth which had reached the maximum we had privately agreed we could get.
I was pleased with the settlement although, of course, I’d give it all back to be how I was before the accident.
My injuries are for life.
I did try to return to work but my difficulties were such that the company doctor of my firm, British Energy, recommended I take early retirement and I did.
I was a keen cricketer before the accident and used to play for my local team.
That’s no longer possible, but I still go along and support them at matches.
I was also a keen chess player and still am – friends come round here regularly for games.
In my time I have been a union officer and also a local councillor and, these days, I’ve become an unpaid adviser to appellants in industrial tribunals and DHSS appeals.
It keeps me busy and I’m delighted to say I have a 90% success rate.
So some good is now coming out of all the suffering.”