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Town solicitor helps win Aussie case
10:00am Wednesday 13th February 2013 in News
A FORMER Great Sankey solicitor has won more than £4.2m in damages for a woman in Australia left badly brain damaged during a high speed motorbike chase with police.
Colin Patino, aged 43, formerly of Cromdale Way, secured the huge payout for Susan Delaney from Australian Associated Motor Insurers in a Supreme Court settlement in Brisbane last week.
He said: “I hope that Susan's case gives heart to all of the seriously injured victims of motor vehicle accidents and their families.
“It goes to show that even if a person suffers awful injuries, it is possible to ensure that an insurer funds the best rehabilitation, the appropriate care and reasonable compensation, provided they are prepared to take on an insurer if it will not behave reasonably."
Ms Delaney was a pillion passenger on boyfriend Craig Sheperd’s motorbike when police attempted to stop him on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2006.
He sped off, running two red lights and attempting to evade officers for 40km with the chase peaking at speeds of 93mph.
At a sharp turn the Triumph Rocket III 2300cc skidded, throwing both riders into a rock wall.
Mr Sheperd, who was at the time banned from driving, was killed on impact, but Ms Delaney survived the crash.
She suffered permanent brain damage and a shattered pelvis, leg and foot.
Despite the severity of her injuries, court records show there was an ‘appalling’ delay to rehabilitation as AAMI haggled over what treatment was allowed under her personal injury policy.
Ms Delaney was denied ‘basic rehabilitation treatment’, including access to a neurologist and physiotherapist.
She could not move or speak, but would cry when doctors discussed her injuries.
A report by Joanne Siketa, an occupational therapist, in 2007 said that Ms Delaney was receiving inadequate care.
Injuries to her left hand were left in ‘the most disgusting and horrific state of neglect’ she had ever witnessed.
But following a campaign by mum Joan Massingham, aged 82, and the subsequent court case, she now receives round-the-clock care.
An inquest into the fatal police chase in 2008 ruled that the police pursuit should have stopped when the bike entered dangerous terrain.
Police officers ignored regulations to continue and failed to notify their communications centre for the pursuit.
Four officers were referred for disciplinary action as a result.