A Devon mother who developed chronic shoulder pain following a road traffic collision has received £5,300 compensation with support from Thompsons Solicitors.

Wanda McDermid, 46, from Uffculme, was driving her then four-year-old daughter home from a swimming lesson when a driver pulled out of a junction and into the side of their car. The force of the impact caused her to lose control of the vehicle, which hit the central reservation.

“The air bags went off, the front of the car had caved in and a lamppost was in the bonnet,” said the trade union member. “The car filled with smoke. My daughter was screaming but her door wouldn’t open because it had buckled. I had to climb in to get her from the front of the car and undo her car seat.”

While initially it appeared Wanda and her daughter had escaped with bruising, a week later she developed pain in her arm, shoulder, neck and back. Her daughter also exhibited signs of distress following the accident, including regular nightmares.

"Our Feeding Fat Cats campaign calls on the government to halt their plans and prevent hundreds of thousands of people a year losing their right to legal protection."

Joanne Duggan
of Thompsons Solicitors

Wanda instructed Thompsons Solicitors to make a claim for compensation. She was lucky that new government proposals to increase the small claims limit haven’t yet been issued, because that meant rather than having to pay for her own legal fees or fight the insurers of the other driver – who would be able to afford lawyers – alone, she got free expert legal assistance.

“Having the support of Thompsons Solicitors was a great help,” she said. “It is unfair that some drivers or passengers who have been injured through no fault of their own face having the government remove their right to free legal representation removed.”

“My daughter was showing signs of post-traumatic stress and when I spoke to our solicitor she got her an appointment with a child psychologist. She has slowly improved over time, though she still mentions it whenever there’s news of an accident.

“Housework has become more challenging since the collision. I have been doing a little painting around the house recently and that’s left me in pain. The compensation will help me to pay for any future physiotherapy I’ll need. The money doesn’t make up for the impact that accident had on our lives, but I’m grateful for it.”

Joanne Duggan, of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “Distracted drivers pose a real danger to other road users. The driver who caused this collision wasn’t paying enough attention to the road and Wanda and her daughter suffered the consequences.

“It is shameful to think that government plans to raise the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 would mean a mother and four year old would not get the support needed to help them move on after a distressing road collision. Our Feeding Fat Cats campaign calls on the government to halt their plans and prevent hundreds of thousands of people a year losing their right to legal protection.”