A father of three whose life was shattered when he devastatingly had his arm amputated following a horrific road collision, has thanked Barings Law for recovering almost £700,000 in damages for him and his family.
Darrell Gibbard from Herne Bay, Kent, was on his way to work during that fateful morning when a car suddenly pulled out in front of him while he was legally overtaking queueing traffic on his motorbike.
Not able to brake or swerve in time, the 31-year-old suffered a severe spinal injury in the collision which paralysed his right arm, and endured eight rib fractures, a broken jaw and a punctured lung following the incident in 2015.
Not letting that hold him back, the professional welder was back at work within six months of his injury and despite his multi-thousand pound pay out seven years on, he wants to continue working and doing what he loves.
“My life flashed before me,” he said. “The driver pulled out without any warning. The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital.
“I’m grateful to be alive but the impact has changed my life. A huge thank you to Barings Law and my incredible solicitor Amina Ali for believing in my case and giving my family some financial peace of mind while allowing me to fund any potential future medical treatment.”
Hurled off his Yamaha R1 bike, Darrell landed 15 feet from the crash site and was subsequently rushed to William Harvey Hospital where he underwent surgery on his broken jaw.
Rather more concerning, he had also suffered a brachial plexus injury causing spinal nerve damage and his dominant right arm to become paralysed.
He said: “I was moved to King’s College Hospital in London and remember willing my arm to move, but I couldn’t feel it. You never think you’re going to lose your arm, but I soon realised it was serious.
“I kept thinking about how I was going to support my young family and a bit of panic sets in at that point.”
After five weeks, Darrell was transferred to the specialist Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where he underwent spinal surgery to try and restore sensation in his arm.
However, due to the severity of his injury the procedure was to no avail, and doctors told him it would likely require an amputation, which he opted for a year later.
He added: “My arm was a dead weight, so it was like carrying a bag full of shopping around daily, which affected my surrounding muscles, so it was recommended for me to have an above elbow amputation.
“Because it was my dominant arm, I had to completely retrain my left one.
“Certain things I took for granted like cooking, writing, changing nappies or even playing catch with my son became frustratingly difficult. They might seem like little things, but to me they’re part of being a dad. My wife Jade has been incredibly supportive, and I couldn’t have got through this without her.
“The toughest part is getting over the mental trauma as the initial anger was difficult to deal with. I try not to think about it, but sometimes I do wonder how my life would have been. I can’t ever forgive the driver for what he did- I’m still suffering today.
“I have Neuropathic Phantom Limb Syndrome so I still feel as though my arm is there, but feels like it is being burned and crushed at the same time. I need painkillers every day.”
The case, which was taken on by Manchester based Barings Law, settled out of court almost seven years after the accident from which Darrell received £679,000 in net damages, paid by the driver’s insurance company.
Having used some of his settlement money to buy a new house for his family, Darrell hasn’t given up his work as a welder and now takes private bookings, but has decided to stop riding motorbikes despite it being his childhood hobby.
He said: “I know most people would have packed in their day jobs, but that’s not me. I don’t want my injury to define who I am. Although it is harder welding with one arm, I’m still very good at it.
“I haven’t been on a motorbike since the crash and will never again. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but its what my family want, so I have to respect that.
“The settlement has given me relief that they’ll be okay but although we’re now mortgage- free, if I could trade my arm back, I would do so in a heartbeat.
“I want to thank Barings Law for everything they’ve done for me because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have got anything.
“I would encourage motorists to be mindful on the road and remember it only takes a slight lapse in concentration to have life-changing consequences on others and yourself.”
Darrell’s solicitor who dealt with the case, Amina Ali, said: “I’m thrilled to secure a significant settlement for Darrell and it was a pleasure working with him.
“Although it’s not going to take his injuries and pain away, it does give him some justice for what happened and financial security for his family. I wish them all the best.”