A former firefighter has received compensation after he suffered a neck injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a head on collision on his way home at the end of a shift.

Craig Turner, who is now 46 years old, was driving home after a night shift at the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service when the collision occurred. As he approached a sharp bend on Tunbridge Lane in Bottisham, a four-wheel drive vehicle came across the road and hit Craig’s car head-on.

Craig was knocked unconscious from the impact and came to with blood covering his face and the airbag pinning him in his seat. He immediately tried to escape the car which was filling with smoke as he feared it would catch fire.

The road accident caused a serious injury to Craig’s neck, which stopped him from working for nearly three months. He also developed PTSD, meaning he found emergency calls and visiting accident sites as part of his work extremely distressing.

As a result of his physical and psychological injuries, Craig was transferred to the Fire Brigade’s training department for two years but his PSTD did not improve. When he was asked to return to operational field duty, he had no choice but to make the decision to retire from the service.

After the accident, Craig contacted his trade union, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Craig said: “I woke up terrified that I was going to be burned alive in my car. My body was in agony but I managed to wrestle myself out of my seatbelt and crawl out of the vehicle.

“I’ve had to cope with the fact that I will never have full mobility in my neck again but what’s worse is that because of the emotional stress, routine things at work like smoke and fire made me panic to the point that I was unable to continue.

“Thompsons Solicitors and my trade union helped me with every step of the legal procedure for which I am very grateful.”

Dave Green, national officer at the Fire Brigade Union, said: “Craig had no time to react as the other car was veering into his. His injuries have had a huge long term impact on his life and as a result he has lost his career within the service and the Fire Brigade has unfortunately lost an experienced and dedicated member of staff. We are glad that we have been able to support Craig throughout his claim.”

Kam Singh, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Craig was a proud firefighter for many years but the nature of his injuries means that he now isn’t able to continue in his chosen profession. Thanks to his membership of the FBU, and even though the accident was not work-related, he had access to expert legal support to make sure he was properly compensated for his life-changing injuries.”