Phil’s Story – Life after Losing His Leg in Motorcycle Accident

Posted on: 9 mins read
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Tina Wilson

Litigation Executive, Road Traffic Accidents

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Our client, Phil, had a motorcycle accident after being hit by a car. He suffered serious injuries, and as a result had to have his right lower leg amputated. 

Sadly, riding a motorcycle is the most dangerous method on the road, and riders are 28 times more likely to lose their lives in a fatal crash, compared to other motorists. In 2020, a total of 82,528 motorcycle riders sustained injuries on the road, which means that road safety is more prevalent than ever.

We helped Phil with making a claim for the amputation injury which paid for private rehabilitation, a prosthesis, adaptations to his home, a new trike and his claim was settled in just 12 months.

Phil’s full story 

Phil and his wife Suzy ran a motorcycle training school together – Phil did the training on the motorcycles and Suzy dealt with all of the admin. They built their business up together over many years and often worked 7-day weeks, to ensure they were running a thriving school.

Six years ago, Phil and Suzy decided it was time to retire, which meant that they sold their business and moved into a new home, a bungalow, which they spent time and money improving. They were enjoying their retirement walking with their Cockapoo, called Sadie, enjoying going to Country and Western clubs and Phil enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He would ride with his friends, once a week, riding around 100 miles – and as he was a trainer in the past, he had a strong understanding of road safety.

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The Collision – How it happened

On 3rd July 2020, Phil was riding with two of his friends, like he usually would. He was at the front of the group, with his friends in single file behind him abiding to road safety.

Suddenly a car veered across the road and hit Phil on the right side of his bike and grazed his friend’s bike directly behind him.

Phil had a dashcam on his bike and the police told him that after viewing the footage that they heard him say ‘God, that hurt’. He managed to stay on his bike and pulled over to the side of the road. He got off his bike and put it on its stand to assess what had happened.

When he looked down at his right leg he saw that his foot was at a 90-degree angle, with his bone sticking out of his boot.

Phil’s friend, who was riding behind him was grazed by the car and hit by debris from Phil’s bike – but through it all, he too managed to stay on his motorcycle.

Sadly, Phil’s other friend saw the whole accident unfold before him and it’s taken a long time for him to come to terms with that day, and the horror that happened.

After The Accident Unfolded 

Phil was airlifted by helicopter to Southampton General Hospital, where the surgeon told him that he had a choice – he could keep his leg, but he would spend the rest of his life in and out of hospital or he could have it amputated.

Phil quickly decided to have it removed – to save all of the later hassle and any potential future pain.

He spent 3 weeks in Southampton Hospital and then a week in his local hospital in Taunton, before he went home. When he got home at the beginning of August, he was wheelchair bound because he needed to book into the Limb Centre in Exeter for the rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, due to a mix up, the clinic didn’t realise that Phil had lost his leg through trauma, so he was put to the back of the waiting list.

Phil and Suzy looked into getting help privately and went to Dorset Orthopaedic. It was lucky that Phil did opt to go private, as he was quickly advised that he would have been wheelchair bound and unable to use a prosthetic leg – if he’d waited for the NHS clinic.

The Car Driver responsible

Phil later found out that the person driving the car that hit him was an 18-year-old man, who was a farm milker working across 2 herds. He had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car, causing him to collide into Phil and his friends.  

He was charged with driving without due care and attention. Suzy didn’t feel this was harsh enough and, in the end, because of Covid delays, they asked Phil if he still wanted him to be charged or simply attend a police driving course – where Phil opted for the latter.

Soon after the accident, the young man wrote Phil a letter apologising to him and saying how sorry he was, and that he hopes that he doesn’t hate him for what had happened. Phil remains very stoic about it all – he said that everyone has driven when they’re tired, but most of us get away with it. Suzy, on the other hand, is still understandably very angry about the situation, as what happened to Phil was a great sadness for her.

How did the personal injury claim help Phil?

Phil and Suzie also had to get their bathroom quickly adapted into a wet room so Phil could access it in his wheelchair. It cost a total of £8,000 and when our Personal Injury Solicitor who was helping Phil, asked the insurance company to pay for the adaptations, they told her that they weren’t in the business of financing home improvements. Even after the stress and worry of the accident and coming to terms with his injuries, getting even basic needs met through the person at fault’s insurance company was challenging.

That’s why having a specialist Serious Injury Solicitor on your side, fighting for you can really make a difference.

Our personal injury solicitor dealing with the case said;

“I made it clear to my opponent that I did not want Phil spending the next few years in litigation as he was a very independent man who still wanted to live his life to the full.

“I was fortunate that my opponent saw the sense in this and because there were life expectancy considerations, an early but very reasonable settlement was negotiated within just 8 months of the collision occurring. I wish they were all as straightforward as this, but it goes to show that it does not always have to be complicated, especially when you have a sensible opponent.”


Phil has been regularly visiting the private clinic and is already on his third socket and had his permanent socket fitted in September 2021. Now this is in place, he’ll be looking to get an electronic ankle so he can get back to feeling a bit more normal.

Without the electronic ankle, he can’t walk downhill easily, which is an issue as the path from his house is downhill, and when it’s wet it can be a bit challenging.  

During the aftermath of the accident, Phil had to use an NHS wheelchair, which has affected his neck, left hand and arm and as he is left-handed, he really struggled to do anything like eating or writing. The nerves in his left arm have been damaged and he has developed carpel tunnel syndrome, too. He’s had surgery for carpel tunnel and with physio, he can now eat and write but still struggles to fold his fingers in the morning, and has little feeling in his hands.

He doesn’t use his chair now except when he goes to bed (in case he needs to get up in the night). Phil mentioned how difficult it is to get out of bed with only one leg, but he’d developed his own way on how to do it.

One of the worst things Phil has encountered after his injury is the phantom leg pain he suffers. Even years after losing his leg, the pain in the foot that isn’t there anymore is excruciating – he describes this as ‘a probe being stuck in his foot and being given an electric shock’. He has medication to use when the pain is really bad and has been having aversion therapy, but he says he can still feel his foot on the ground. This is all typical phantom limb pain and the perception of pain for a limb that is no longer there.

How the Collision Affected Phil and Suzy

Phil was still working at the time of the accident. He was driving a bus at night, but his injuries meant that he couldn’t go back to work anymore, or for the foreseeable.

Additionally, Phil can’t drive a car with conventional pedals any more either, so he has lost his ability to just pop out when he wants to, as Suzy always has to drive him.

Because he was already claiming his pension when he lost his leg, he isn’t eligible to get a Motability vehicle through the scheme so has had to pay for an automatic vehicle, with a left foot accelerator and duel peddles so Suzy can also use it – this is all from his compensation. The car didn’t arrive into the UK until November 2021 due to production issues and it still needed to be altered once it got here – so again, extra time was put on getting Phil back to how he was before the accident.

Phil’s Positive Attitude and Strength

Despite the pain and all the challenges, Phil still stays positive. He said:

“Every day that goes by I can do more and more. I’ve now learnt to pick stuff off the floor like a golfer does, with my prosthetic stuck out behind me.

“Every week and month that goes by, things get better. I can now almost get up like I have 2 legs even though age is against me. A younger person can adapt to things more quickly – although I don’t really act my age, that doesn’t help me here!”

Phil continues to push on, with Suzy supporting him and he’s also back out riding on the road. After the accident, he always wanted his bike back. He managed to get it back from the insurers and he found a firm in Yeovil, who rebuilt it for him.

Understandably, Suzie didn’t want him to ride it with one leg, so he found a trike and bought it. All of this meant that he reluctantly sold his other bike, to save money.

Through all of the negatives that Phil has been through, he has always been positive. Phil loves his new trike, and it’s given him a new sense of freedom. He can currently ride it short distances and is getting used to riding it as he can’t get his leg in the position he needs to, but he’s loving the chance to get back and do what he loves.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has had a motorcycle accident, our Motorcycle Accident Solicitors can help you to make a compensation claim. It doesn’t matter if you were driving the motorcycle or riding pillion, we can help you. Our team are experts in dealing with motorcycle accident claims, which is a highly specialised area of law. We’ve got passionate bikers in our team who understand what it means to be a biker and have a good insight into some of the issues bikers face on the roads.

Our specialist Motorcycle Accident Solicitors have helped many bikers get back on the road after suffering a life-changing injury, and the expert bikers in our team can even advise you on what type of modifications might be needed, just like with Phil. Call us on 0808 239 6443 and let us help you.


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Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). Amputation Claims. Retrieved from

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. (n.d.). Southampton General Hospital. Retrieved from

NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.). Phantom Limb Pain. Retrieved from

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