A former Essex Police Special Constable who sustained life-long brain injuries in a work- related car accident over four years ago has been awarded a significant financial sum to access the care, support and treatment required to live the rest of his life comfortably and semi-independently.
Reece Clarke – who moved to his new, specially adapted home last year thanks to an initial payment secured by his legal team – will receive part of the settlement in annual payments to cover the costs associated with the care he requires to be able to build a new life with support from his dad, Stephen (aka Tubby), and sister Chelsie, who currently share the home with him.
The sum of money is the largest amount ever secured by personal injury specialists, Minster Law, and is the result of collaborative working with a team of health professionals and support organisations, including Head First who are specialists in assessment and case management for people affected by brain injuries. Assistance was also provided by barristers Gerwyn Samuel of Doughty Street Chambers and Gerard McDermott QC of Outer Temple Chambers.
Reece, who was just 19 when the accident happened in 2011, was in the passenger seat of a police car while on duty when it collided with a car being driven negligently and at speed. The now 23-year-old was left with multiple fractures to his skull, face and ribs and endured serious brain injuries, for which he has undergone extensive treatment and rehabilitation in four different hospitals and two specialist neurological facilities.
Commenting on the settlement, Reece’s dad said: “Reece has clearly had a really difficult few years. He’s had to come to terms with his injuries and the fact that they mean he will probably never realise his ambition of becoming a fully-fledged police officer. In addition to that, we had to cope with the loss of his Mum, Wendy, during the course of his rehabilitation. He is still only 23 years old and, hopefully, has so much of his life left ahead of him.”
Reece’s solicitor, Kimberley Owen, and the team at Minster Law has been a huge support throughout these turbulent times and their hard work means that we can face the future feeling confident that Reece will have the care that he needs to live a happy, fulfilling and semi-independent life, despite his injuries. We’ve made great progress in building a new life for Reece in the past few years and thanks to his determination and positive attitude, the settlement will help him continue to focus on a new future.
“I think the most important thing for other families going through similar situations is to never give up. Throughout the last four years, we have faced many battles and knockbacks and I think many people would have just given up, but we’re living proof that things will turn out for the best if you just keep fighting, never take no for an answer and surround yourselves with the right support.”
The end of the legal battle marks a significant new phase in the life of the whole family, with Dad Stephen (Tubby) now contemplating a change to his business. He says that he learned so much from the adaptations needed to Reece’s home, and the required liaison with occupational therapists to get things right, that he would now like to do more work on building adaptions for disabled people. Having seen the impact that Reece’s home has made on his own family, Stephen would like to help other families in a similar way.
Solicitor Kimberley Owen, who represented the Clarke family on behalf of Minster Law, said: “Although this is the largest personal injury settlement ever secured by Minster Law, our biggest achievement has been providing long-term support for Reece to give him stability for the rest of his adult years. Police officers are a vital element in protecting our communities and Reece dedicated himself to law enforcement at a young age, but unfortunately his career ambitions were cut short at a very early stage.”
“His family have been a huge support to him and to us, his legal team, and we wanted to repay their commitment by ensuring that they received all of the help and care they need for Reece to flourish as an independent, young man. We’re confident that we have achieved the best possible outcome for Reece and his family in terms of both financial package and continuing treatment. As serious injury specialists, with a particular focus on brain injury, we understand the importance of ongoing care and support and aim to achieve this for all of our clients.”
For further information or interview opportunities with the family and Kimberley Owen, please contact the Minster Law press office on 01652 680060 or email MinsterLaw@rbpagency.com