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Woman's leg-loss car accident claim

Woman with synthetic leg
14th May 2014
A 27-year-old who was left with one leg after a car accident is seeking motor accident compensation to pay for the specialist equipment she will need for the rest of her life, as well as to compensate her for her physical and psychological suffering.

Emma Woolnough lost her leg after she and two other pedestrians were hit by an elderly driver who mounted the pavement in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth. During the criminal trial, it was discovered that the driver – 86-year-old Allan Skoyles – had mistakenly pressed the accelerator instead of the break pedal.

As well as Emma's lost leg, one of the other pedestrians – a 78-year-old man – died three months after the crash and – although nothing was mentioned by the coroner at the time – his friends and family firmly believe that the car accident played a part in the decline in his health. He was survived by his wife, who suffered a serious hip injury as a result of the collision.

At Norwich Crown Court, Judge Peter Jacobs sentenced Mr Skoyles to a suspended eight-month sentence for dangerous driving, fined him £2,000 and banned him from driving for three years. The judge also expressed astonishment that Mr Skoyles still had a licence, as he was deaf, had suffered a stroke in the past and had survived eight heart operations.

"No-one says this was deliberate or malicious, but [Mr Skoyles] should not have been in that car," remarked Judge Jacobs. He went on to call for checks to be carried out on all motorists aged 75 and over to make sure it was still safe for them to be behind the wheel, so that injury claims for this kind of incident were reduced.

Emma is making her motor accident compensation claim as, whilst it was her left leg that was amputated, she also needed skin grafts on her right, as well as further surgery in the future.

Injury claims for amputees often revolve around their need to pay for alterations to their home that need to be made to help make their lives easier. Although in Emma's case, she has been fitted with a prosthetic leg, people who are wheelchair-bound following amputation will need ramps adding to their home and possibly the widening of doorways. Meanwhile, all amputees could benefit from stairlifts, walk-in baths and other aids which will help them regain some kind of normality.

Reported by Fiona Campbell