A Unite member who sustained prolonged neck and back whiplash injuries following a road traffic accident has secured compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.
Pauline Hooper, from Doncaster, was stationery at a set of traffic lights, when a 4x4 drove into the rear of her car.
As a result of the collision, Pauline’s car was thrown forwards and she hit her head on the dashboard.
Pauline, a bus driver, attended Accident and Emergency at Doncaster Hospital the following day, where she underwent medical examinations and was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. Later x-rays on her spine revealed that she had also suffered exacerbation of pre-existing problems in her back and Whiplash Associated Disorder.
She was referred for a course of physiotherapy and prescribed strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories. She also attended a pain management clinic for CBT treatment.
Pauline initially got in contact with a high street solicitor to pursue her claim, however, she was not happy with the service received and was later put in touch with Unite Legal Services, who took the claim on.
Pauline said: “To say the accident was a shock is an understatement. I am a bus driver so spend a significant amount of time on the roads. However, nothing prepares you for the shock of a collision.
“I have severe ongoing neck and back pain as a result of the accident, which severely restricts what I can do. It ultimately means that I am unable to return to the same working hours as I had done previously and it put me under great financial strain.”
The driver admitted liability for the accident and following initial offers being rejected, a full and final compensation figure was accepted in the sum of £45,000 for Pauline’s injuries and loss of earnings.
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 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 the injuries and for the additional expenses incurred for Pauline.
“High street solicitors and claims companies would probably have settled early or accepted a deal, but Unite Legal Services, who only act for injured people never for insurers, fought hard to get the best outcome for our member. We also don’t take a cut of any compensation awarded to members, whereas high street solicitors would likely take around 25%.
“Pauline’s experience underlines how even experienced drivers are vulnerable to accidents caused by other road users.”