Case Study: £1.5 million in Compensation Awarded in Head Injury Claim

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Matthew Clayton

Partner, Serious Injury Solicitor

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Every year, the number of cyclists involved in an accident on the road have risen. A report released by the Department for Transport (DfT) released that there were 5,602 cyclists killed or seriously injured on the road in 2021, making that an increase of 500 year-on-year. Sadly, for our client, he was one of those cyclists that had been involved in a serious injury.

A 15-year-old boy called Jamie was riding his bike home from school in November 2006 when he was struck by a car in a road traffic collision. Immediately, he suffered with a badly broken leg, and having hit his head on the car’s windscreen, he has also fractured his nasal bone, too. 

Straight after the accident, the ambulance transported Jamie to the local hospital in Durham, where he was soon transferred to the neurological hospital in Newcastle. Unfortunately, whilst Jamie was there, he suffered an epileptic seizure, which can happen when someone has incurred a traumatic brain injury. The seizure meant that the hospital staff had to sedate Jamie, so that they could focus on treating his fractures in a timely manner. Jamie only regained consciousness the next day on the ward, so already, this injury had been detrimental to his health. Soon thereafter, Jamie made a full recovery in hospital, and was then released in a plaster and crutches for his broken leg.  

Sadly, Jamie, nor his family, had been given any advice relating to a head injury, as they were told that it was just some fractures on the face, and not the true extent of what it was. They were never made aware that there would be a possibility of brain damage from the road accident, so had no idea about the implications that were going to follow. 

It was only years later, when we had specialists on the case, than an expert neurosurgeon stated that the CT scan of the head taken at the hospital did show evidence of brain damage – but for the moment, Jamie and his family, were oblivious to the fact.

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Repercussions of the accident 

The timing of the accident was on the lead up to Jamie’s GCSEs, but due to his injuries, he had a long period off school recovering. He returned for two weeks, begore he sat his exams in the June of that year. Though Jamie was never a gifted student, he was particularly interested in all things mechanical and had a real talent for working with cars and engines. 

Once Jamie had made a full recovery from his badly broken leg, his mother chose to take him to see a local solicitor to open up a head injury claim against the driver who had hit him. Jamie’s mother had noticed that her son had “changed” since the accident that day, as he was no longer helpful, polite or wanting to help around the home. Instead, he became argumentative and lost motivation for anything, even the engines and cars he had been so keen on before.

The arguments got so bad that his mother couldn’t cope and Jamie moved out of the home to live with his grandmother who lived nearby. Since the accident, he also found it impossible to concentrate at college, having enrolled on a course shortly after his GCSEs.

From having predicted grades of Bs in those GCSEs before his accident, he left secondary school with a line-up of C’s and a D – but the fact that he’d managed to pass any exam at all, given the time he had off with his injuries, was testament to the fact that his intellect hadn’t been affected by the accident and the head injury. But it also confirmed that the time he missed in the run-up to the exams and his brain injury had a massive effect on his abilities.

Jamie was struggling in college with being disruptive in class, and lost all motivation and focus, despite his old optimism for his future self. He struggled to find any work because of this change, and because Jamie’s new teachers never knew the bright and positive attitude, he had prior, they just believed that was his ‘typical’ behaviour – and offered no support.  

His family and his mother, meanwhile, assumed it was part of him going through adolescence; whilst the college just thought he was a ‘problem teenager’ and were glad to have him leave the course he had enrolled for.

Jamie’s work experience 

Jamie’s uncle was not aware of any changes in behaviour, and never linked it to the fact he had an accident when he was 15. He continued to look out for Jamie and even secured a job for him on a production line. The role was repetitive with mundane tasks at a local factory, so Jamie was often getting in trouble for his time-keeping, fatigue and concentration issues.

He was often inappropriate with other workers and fell out with some of the migrant staff, who like Jamie, were on very low wages. Despite being disciplined about his behaviour on numerous occasions, he was able to retain this job mainly due to his own determination not to let his uncle down. He was also desperate for money to pay his bills and the employer overlooked his behaviour as it was hard to find staff for their factory on such low wages.

How Simpson Millar Helped

The family had arranged for Jamie’s legal case to be transferred to Simpson Millar in 2009, as they were unhappy at the delays in the case with the previous Solicitors. At that stage, the previous Solicitor had only obtained a report from a surgeon dealing with the leg fracture but nothing else – which is why we agreed to help Jamie and his family. 

One of our Serious Injury Solicitors instructed a neurosurgeon to review the hospital records from Jamie’s accident, because his history and symptoms matched up well with clients that we had helped before. As soon as we heard Jamie’s history of his problems, which seemed to stem from the accident, it seemed that his various difficulties were very similar to other people that he had acted for before, who had all suffered a brain injury in an accident.

As soon as the reports from the neurosurgeons came back, they immediately confirmed our fears, but also clarified what was happening with Jamie. This gave their family some understanding of why Jamie was so different and why his mother had found him so hard to live with after the accident.

The insurer of the driver of the car that had hit him, did not accept this report or agree it was a result of the accident. Though they saw the records for themselves, that showed Jamie suffering with a seizure, and becoming unconscious during the time he had the facial fractures to his head and face; they weren’t agreeing with it.

In their eyes, they saw a young man who had left school without any real  qualifications, who had come from a working-class family. They saw that he was able to hold down a job, so they didn’t think he needed any help in the future and wanted to only compensate him for his leg injury.

From all the reports we gathered and the evidence that Jamie exhibited, it was clear that he had suffered a brain damage that would profoundly affect his future. At this point, Jamie’s problems at work had got so bad, that he was told to leave, thus making him unemployed. His grandma suffered a stroke at this time, where he was unable to care for her, and when she subsequently died soon after, he was then made homeless. Because of all these downfalls in Jamie’s life, he had no choice but to return to him mother’s home. By this point, his mother understood that Jamie couldn’t help his behaviour, so she wanted to help him move back to her home.

How a traumatic brain injury affected Jamie 

Soon after moving into his mother’s home, if Jamie wasn’t prompted to do something, then he would spend the whole day in his room, in bed. By this time, he was 20 years old, but still acting like a perpetual teenager, trapped in the body of his prior, 15-year-old self. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is synonymous with changes in behaviour, and in particular, immaturity, as if you are not growing up. This coincided with the anger, moodiness and lack of will to help around his family – which had all happened after the accident. 

The expert evidence from the doctors recommended that he needed a full case management package to help motivate Jamie and bring some quality back into his life. The plan, together with a more structured routine and possibly some easy voluntary work, would give him a sense of achievement and purpose.

The insurer of the vehicle that hit Jamie tried to blame the hospital who treated him after the collision, and later argued that his problems were related to a possible schizophrenia; which they believed was in place before the accident. They demanded disclosure of historical school and GP records, which were sent to them and after a long search, they were only able to point to a few problem months that Jamie had when he was 11-years-old.

It was immediately clear to us and the experts that those ‘problem months’ were during Jamie’s parents’ separation, and his dad moving away to live with his new partner. A 2022 report even proves that ‘there is a 16% increase in a risk of behaviour problems when the child is between 7 and 14 years old when their parents’ divorce’, which was the case for Jamie. There was no follow ups or issues after, so it was clear that we could put it all down to that. 

The insurer’s Solicitors then tried to argue his problems were due to a pre-existing malformation which had shown up on an MRI scan of the brain taken in 2012, only for all of the experts to discount this as totally unconnected with his problems.

They valued the claim to be worth no more than £10,000 for the injury to the leg and made a derisory offer on that basis. They put all of these very different arguments before the District Judge, some of which were supported by their experts, and as such, they successfully resisted my attempts to seek an interim payment to help pay for what Jamie needed. After six years of battles, the case went to a full trial in February 2016.

The Outcome

Jamie’s family all gave evidence at the High Court in Newcastle, as did experts in neurology, neurosurgery, neuropsychiatry, neuropsychology and neuroradiology. Experts in neurorehabilitation and care were also called, along with Jamie’s financial deputy.

The experts won their personal battles, such that the Judge indicated before he was to hear final submissions from the barristers and give his Judgement that he was satisfied:

  • Jamie had suffered a brain injury in the accident
  • Jamie’s problems were all caused by this injury

This left only consideration of what his needs were and how much those needs would cost for Jamie’s lifetime to calculate the claim and for the Judge to set the award of compensation. The defence, running scared of the final Judgement, then came to us to offer to settle the claim before Judgement – and put forward an amount of £1.5 million in compensation.

The Judge personally commended the Simpson Millar team, and expressed clearly throughout the trial what a ‘marvellous job’ we had done with counsel Winston Hunter QC in preparing and presenting the case.

From what we had calculated, the offer was far too good to refuse, as it was the maximum, we believe the Judge would have awarded. In the end, the proposed settlement was placed before the Judge and he both approved the settlement and again expressed his praise at the way the case had been handled, remarking that the settlement represented approximately what he would’ve awarded had he calculated the compensation award himself.

For a full breakdown of general damaged relating to Brain Injury, then read our Brain and Head Injury Compensation Payouts Guide here.

This case was huge for us to take, considering it had already failed with another local solicitor; so, we really wanted to do Jamie justice. We are extremely happy for the compensation amount, and wish him and his family all the best for the future.

At Simpson Millar, we have a team of Personal Injury Solicitors that specialise in brain and head injury claims. We are dedicated to getting the maximum amount of compensation and rehabilitation support for people who have suffered brain injuries through no fault of their own. Call us on 0808 258 3227 for free legal advice on how we can help with your claim, and let us, help you. 


GOV.UK. (Publication date not specified). "Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Provisional Results 2022." Available at:

NHS. (Publication date not specified). "Broken Nose." Available at:

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. (Publication date not specified). "Neurology." Available at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Publication date not specified). "The Connection Between TBI and Epilepsy." Available at:

Cleveland Clinic. (Publication date not specified). "Adolescent Development." Available at:

Simpson Millar LLP. (Publication date not specified). "Brain & Head Injury Claims." Available at:

PubMed. (Publication date: August 21, 2013). "Cerebral complications of anterior ethmoidal artery epistaxis: a retrospective review." Available at:

Mayo Clinic. (Publication date not specified). "Schizophrenia." Available at:

Verywell Family. (Publication date not specified). "Children of Divorce in America: Statistics." Available at:

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. (Publication date not specified). "Neurorehabilitation and Therapy Services." Available at:

Matthew Clayton Profile Picture

Matthew Clayton

Partner, Serious Injury Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Matthew specialises in Serious Injury claims for compensation including AmputationsBrain Damage and Head Injuries, and Spinal Cord Injuries.

Matthew joined Simpson Millar in November 2016, and heads our department which looks after clients who have suffered life changing injuries.

Matthew is a former Principal Lawyer with Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK. He qualified as a Lawyer in 1990, and has a wealth of experience in helping clients who have suffered a range of injuries.

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