Unite member suffered life-changing injuries in road accident is compensated £250,000

A Unite member has been awarded almost £250,000 after a car crash caused a heart condition and a traumatic brain injury that left him fighting for his life.

Richard Jeffries was driving to work in the morning along a road in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, when his car skidded on ice, causing him to lose control and crash into an oncoming vehicle.

The road should have been gritted by Calderdale Council, but signs of freezing weather conditions had not been monitored correctly and the road was untreated.

The 42-year-old youth worker had to be cut out of the vehicle by emergency services. He was in a coma and was rushed to hospital by air ambulance.

Doctors operated immediately to stop the bleeding on his brain and he was then treated for fracture injuries to his pelvis, chest and left arm. In the road accident he also suffered a deflated lung, blood clots to his heart and pituitary gland damage, which saw him develop diabetes insipidus.

When Richard regained consciousness he had no memory of the accident. He spent a month in hospital but when released he still couldn't stand for several months. He had almost two years off work because of the severity of the accident and his injuries.

He has since had periods of time off work for treatment, including open heart surgery to repair damage done by the crash. Richard continues to suffer from pains in his chest and pelvis as well as significant weakness in his left arm.

He contacted Unite Legal Services who investigated a compensation claim for him.

Richard said: “Hospital staff everywhere have been amazed at my progress so far. Despite everything that’s happened to me, I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be here and remain totally positive.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital a great deal over the last three and a half years and have come to terms with the fact that I will never be the same person again because of my injuries. My children were young at the time of the accident and I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for them. One of the things that has affected me the most is the impact upon my family; I’ve missed out on vital time with them and I will never get it back.

“I had numerous cold calls after my accident from high street solicitors and claims companies wanting to represent me, but when I spoke to Unite Legal Services I was confident that my best interests would be taken care of, and they have. The compensation has obviously helped me and my family but I’m most grateful for my life, which I owe to all the medical teams that helped me.”

Karen Reay, regional secretary of Unite North East, Yorkshire & Humberside, said: “Richard is extremely lucky to be alive, but sadly his injuries will impact him and his family for the rest of his life. The compensation he has received will play an important part in meeting the financial consequences of his injuries.

“Unite Legal Services represents our members whether they have been involved in an accident at or away from work, and our members will always receive 100% of the compensation secured for them.”