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Title: My pre-existing ankle injury was made worse by accident

Date: 29 January 2014

Q

I had an accident on my scooter. I was coming down the bus lane, it was wet and suddenly a 4X4 driving on the opposite side of the road turned right across my path. She whacked me right off, I was severely winded as my chest and shoulder took the brunt of the impact. After regaining my breath, i realized someone was talking to me and telling me to lie down. My right foot and right forearm were giving me serious pain and I was finding it difficult to breath. An ambulance came and so did the police. The policeman said there were six witnesses and all were blaming the driver, apparently I was t-boned. He took down three of their details as there was no discrepancy in who they were ascribing fault to. The paramedics took me to A&E where a nurse checked my foot, chest and arm along with my breathing. She prescribed pain killers and sent me home.

A few days later I went to see my doctor. He thought I was not taking enough air into my right lung. So off I went for an X-Ray, it came back clear and my chest pain subsided, altogether it took around eight days of co-codomal and rest for the pain to cease in my chest. No such luck for my foot. I had a previous injury on the same foot, and had to see an orthopaedic doctor, he said something about right root displayed etc. I went for some physio and was able to start full time work, prior to that I couldn't, due to the pain of the cramps and pain in a ligament or tendon. Now, this has all reappeared, I walk like a penguin again, I get cramp in my foot and sharp pain. I'm due to see an orthopaedic doctor again, and hopefully a physio.

Assuming the driver admits liability, how much compensation can i expect - even with my prior foot problem? I'm assuming that somehow it would need to be proven the accident has exacerbated the previous injury. Secondly, how long would it take? I've never done this before and my solicitors seem good.

Mr A R, by e-mail

A

The amount of compensation you ultimately receive will depend on the content of independent medical evidence your solicitors commission for use in your claim. I imagine, due to the nature of the injuries and the pre-existing history, they will instruct a foot and ankle specialist as opposed to a more generalist orthopaedic surgeon. The surgeon will be asked to specifically comment on your history and the level of disablement the pre-existing history was presenting or would have led to in any event, together with time frames. He will consider the degree of exacerbation caused to the pre-existing injury brought about by this accident. He will hopefully then be able to apportion the ongoing disability between the two, helpfully with percentages as us lawyers find this very useful as it makes calculating losses much easier if we have clear lines of apportionment. I am unable to value your claim without sight of such medical evidence.

In terms of how long the claim takes this will again depend on the content of the medical report as this will deal with recovery times and prognosis. A general guide is that personal injury claims can take from 6 months to 5 or more years to settle depending on the severity of injuries and complexities of the case.

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