I was cycling to work, like I did on any other morning, when I had my crash. I call it ‘my crash’ because it was not an accident. The driver of a skip lorry driver turned left without checking his mirrors. The front wheels of the lorry knocked me off my bicycle, then the back wheels went over me and dragged me along the street.
As well as having a crushed pelvis, I was essentially bleeding to death. A London’s Air Ambulance crew member performed a life-saving procedure on me (called REBOA) there in the street. He inserted a small inflatable balloon into my femoral artery to stop the bleeding and buy me some time until I could reach an operating theatre. I woke up in hospital several days later. I know I was lucky to be alive, but my left leg had been amputated because the blood supply to it had been cut off in order to save my life.
It is strange to have what happened put into so few words when the impact has been so huge. But that day was just the start of my journey.
Today, I have several additional needs as a result of my injuries, not least a need for a decent prosthetic leg. There are other challenges to living my day-to-day life, which I may have taken for granted before my injuries. At the time of the crash, I was a normal 24-year-old, living in London, going out with my friends and enjoying life. I cannot be that carefree anymore. Some people seem to think that once an injured person is back on her feet then she must be fixed and can carry on as before. It’s not like that, my life has changed so much that I think of it in terms of before and after the crash.
Nonetheless, I have been able to get my life back on track.
The established justice system in this country means that the insurance for the skip lorry driver provided the financial support I need. Had it not, the taxpayer would be paying to replace my prosthetic leg every few years. The NHS-provided leg would not be as sophisticated as the one I have now, and it would not be as tailored to my body. I am also grateful that the financial support I have affords me to manage my pain and mobility with physical therapies. All the details of my needs were examined by the court and the necessary funds were fought for.
It is not possible to turn back time, but the law has enabled me to get back to a good life.
I speak about my experience in the new film for the Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign which aims to ensure that the law which helps victims of negligence is not eroded. Sadly, the civil legal system often comes under attack from those who are not willing to pay for their negligence.
I was crossing the junction that morning and fell victim to the skip lorry driver’s negligence, but it could have been anybody. It could have been you. Please take a few minutes to look at the Rebuilding Shattered Lives website to find out more about why we should all care about protecting the law.