Unite Legal Services help bus driver hit head-on by ambulance

A former bus driver has received £150,000 in compensation after being involved in a serious road traffic accident that left him with extensive injuries.

Unite member, Graham Codling, who was employed as a bus driver for Yorkshire Coastliner, was driving his bus on the A64 when an ambulance suddenly swerved directly into his path. Despite Graham hitting the brakes as hard as he could, a head-on collision could not be avoided.

The driving cab was completely crushed and Graham suffered several broken ribs and significant fracture injuries to his left leg, right arm and hip. He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery to his left leg and also suffered damage to his liver, ribs, lungs and kidneys. He remained an inpatient at Leeds General Infirmary for some time before being transferred to York District Hospital.

While at York Hospital, he developed deep vein thrombosis in his leg and acute kidney failure, due to the damage caused to his kidneys. Both were treated, however, Graham did not respond and he returned to intensive care for another three days. He was finally discharged from hospital three months after the accident.

He also suffered psychological trauma and underwent extensive physiotherapy treatment for his arm and leg.

Graham contacted Unite Legal Services to pursue a compensation claim. Investigations carried out by an independent medical expert revealed that Graham would continue to suffer from restricted mobility and restricted use of his hand as a result of the accident. He also suffers from permanent kidney damage.

Unite Legal Services was able to secure interim payments which helped to keep Graham and his family afloat financially during this difficult time. They were also able to obtain funding for psychological therapy.

Sadly, as Graham was no longer able to carry out his duties at work, he chose to take early retirement.

Following the accident, it was established that the ambulance had been stolen by a mental health patient during the transfer to another hospital in the York area. Unfortunately, he died in the collision. The incident was subject to a Coroner’s inquest and a damages claim pursued against the ambulance motor insurers.

Insurers for the ambulance company admitted full liability and the case was settled once proceedings had been issued.

Mr Codling said: “To say the accident was a shock is an understatement. I was a bus driver so spent a significant amount of time on the roads. However, nothing prepares you for the shock of a collision, especially one such as this.

“I am so pleased that I was able to receive the support of Unite Legal Services, who not only offered me vital rehabilitation but also managed to secure me invaluable compensation for my future.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “This case proves the importance of union membership and the access it gives to specialist solicitors. Unite’s panel solicitors are experts and when they throw the full weight of their legal expertise behind a case it works. Here it meant they were able to secure full compensation for our member.”