Man Receives Psychological Therapy after Being Assaulted by Driver

Author:
Susan Vanden
Partner, Road Traffic Accident Technical Manager
Date:
04/10/2021

We helped a man get the psychological therapy he needed after being traumatised in an unprovoked assault.

David, a man in his 20s, was finishing up work late at night when a man pulled up outside and asked if he was interested in buying a mobile phone off him.

They agreed a price, but after taking his money, the driver called back to David, claiming he wanted to take the SIM card out of the phone.

David was concerned that once he had his phone, he would drive off without giving it back, so he leaned into the car and kept hold of it in his right hand.

As the driver tried to remove the SIM card, he moved the phone further and further away from David, dragging half of his body into the car in the process.

Then without any warning, he raised the window and accelerated away with David hanging out from the side of the car.

David grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and eventually the car crashed. He was sent flying across the other side of the road and knocked out.

The police and ambulance were called to the scene, David was taken to hospital with multiple soft tissue injuries and a minor brain injury.

How the Accident Affected His Life

David spent his time after the accident resting and sleeping, and struggled with symptoms including headaches, lower back pain, difficulty concentrating and dizziness.

His symptoms meant he couldn’t go back to work for six months, and he relied on help from his mum and brother with basic tasks such as washing and getting dressed.

David’s social life was also badly affected, as he used to enjoy active pursuits such as football several times a week. But following the accident, he couldn’t head balls and would get back pain when running.

Accident Causes Psychological Trauma

Understandably, David’s experience also had a huge psychological impact.

He suffered mood swings that affected his relationship with his family and experienced flashbacks to the assault. He also became anxious, depressed and withdrawn, and his confidence and self-esteem was hit.

The pain affected his sleeping patterns too, and when he woke up, he’d feel weary and drained straight away, which led to him getting moody and irritable.

The accident also led to David becoming fearful of driving and scared when travelling as a passenger, both in a car and on public transport.

Medical Evidence Proves Link to Accident

After taking on his compensation claim, I approached the driver’s insurance company, who alleged that David wasn’t being honest about what had happened.

They asked for medical evidence to prove his symptoms and that they were caused by the accident.

To remove any doubt, I arranged independent medical reports from experts, including a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who confirmed that the accident had sped up the onset of a pre-existing back problem by two to three years.

I also arranged for David to be seen by a chartered clinical psychologist, who diagnosed him with PTSD caused by the accident, and advised him to have a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

With this evidence, we worked out how much compensation David should claim and began negotiating with the insurance company.

Compensation Settlement Agreed

Whilst liability (fault) was never formally admitted, we eventually managed to agree a compensation settlement of £25,000, which should help David get the care, support and rehabilitation he will need in the future.

This includes a course of CBT, which will help him overcome or manage his mood disturbances and anxiety. This could make a big difference to his life as he tries to rebuild his social relationships.

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