I have been a Personal Injury lawyer for over 15 years. To be able to fulfil this role, I believe, it is paramount to have genuine sympathy with clients and understand what they are going through when involved in an accident or incident which can potentially be life-changing.

At the age of 17, I was involved in a road traffic accident on the way home from an evening football match with family and friends. Whilst travelling on a quiet motorway our vehicle collided with another vehicle that was stationary, straddling the outside two lanes, sideways on.  I actually remember very little as I was knocked unconscious (I was sat behind the driver) and my poor sister had to pull me out of the car whilst we awaited the paramedics.  It was terrifying for her as, whilst she knew that she was injured, she felt the urgency to get me out of the car as quickly as possible in case another vehicle collided with us from behind due to our vulnerable position on the motorway.

I recall being sat at the side of the road with foil wrapped around me and was taken by ambulance to the local hospital (nearly 60 miles from home).  I had smacked my face on the driver’s seat and suffered a broken jaw and fractured cheekbone, along with impact wounds to my face and leg.

I was admitted to hospital for five days. I underwent reconstructive surgery (on my 18th birthday!) to remove the shattered bones around my eye socket and have metal plates inserted.  These will be in for life.

I have been left with double vision when looking above the horizontal and scarring to my face and leg.  In winter, I often experience a cold, numbing sensation to my cheek with discoloration.  I also have scarring to my upper gums where metal wiring was inserted to fix my broken jaw.  Nobody can see this, but I am aware of it and it’s a constant reminder of the accident.

My sister suffered a broken arm and nose and the other passengers and driver all suffered neck and back injuries – as well as psychological symptoms for some time.  My sister particularly suffered with travel-anxiety-related symptoms for a long time as she can recall the events, moment of impact and aftermath very clearly.

I feel extremely lucky.  It could have been so much worse.  I appreciate that an accident is not just an accident and a second in time can so heavily impact your health, lifestyle and future.  It can also have huge repercussions for loved ones and those around you who try to help as best they can day to day with the physical and emotional support needed.

We were approached by the other driver’s insurance company soon after the accident. However, we were recommended a law firm who were happy to take it on for us.  It took several years to get the compensation through, but I was in no rush and knew that, due to my injuries, I would need to see various medical experts to obtain their reports on the injuries I had suffered.

In my work now, speaking to injured clients is something I do daily.   I truly appreciate the importance of having the right lawyer to guide you through the process of making a personal injury claim – a process that you didn’t ask to be put through in the first place and which can be, as I found, a very daunting and sometimes overwhelming experience.

When I look back, I realise I was very fortunate to have found a law firm which made such a terrible experience that much easier for me, in terms of listening to me and building the trust that they would make sure I got the settlement I deserved. That feeling has always stayed with me. And it is a sense which I always try to give to my clients when helping them through their own claims and experiences.

If you have been through an ordeal like Sarah’s – suffering an injury in a road traffic accident or other kind of accident – you can get in touch with us for expert advice and legal support.

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Catherine Reynolds
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