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Boyes Turner specialist serious road traffic injury lawyers recently dealt with a claim by a young woman who was a passenger in a vehicle, driven by her boyfriend. Whilst returning from a night out he lost control of the car and veered off the road colliding with a roadside hedge and trees. He was breathalysed by the Police at the scene of the accident and was found to be driving with an alcohol level above the prescribed limit.

The young female passenger suffered multiple injuries including a head injury; a Hangman’s facture of C2; multiple lacerations overlying the radial aspect of the right wrist and carpus with imbedded glass but no bony injury; a minor occipital laceration; bilateral C2 pedicle fractures traversing the intervertebral foramina bilaterally; an avulsion fracture of the antero inferior aspect of the body of C2;an unstable traumatic spondylolisthesis at C2/3 without neurological injury; lacerations to the right hand with embedded glass and division of minor cutaneous nerves and the ulnar digital nerve to the index finger.

She was taken by ambulance to the Accident and Emergency department of the local hospital and underwent X-rays and CT and MRI scans. Lacerations overlying the radial border of the wrist and hand were explored and at least one large glass fragment was removed. The wounds were then closed primarily with sutures. A minor laceration of the occiput was also sutured. She was nursed initially on a spinal bed and in a neck brace. The cervical injury was then treated conservatively in a halo jacket. She remained in hospital as an inpatient for several months.

She had to undergo further treatment to remove glass from her hand and to improve the appearance of scarring. In particular she was distressed by the pin marks left on her face as a result of wearing the halo brace.

There was no loss of earnings claim as the claimant’s employers paid her whilst she was unable to work. A claim was made for the care and assistance provided by her parents and grandparents. Rehabilitation was agreed with the defendant at an early stage and the claimant was provided with physiotherapy at no cost to her.

Contributory negligence was an issue as she was aware of her boyfriend’s alcohol consumption when she got in the car with him. This was vigorously resisted however and the claim was eventually settled prior to issue of court proceedings for £45,000.