A family’s fight for justice has finally come to a close after the insurer of the driver of a car who hit a GMB member has accepted the driver was partly responsible for his death.

Highways worker Tony Gate from Hartlepool suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after he was hit by a car in 2003 while he put out signs for road works in the town.

The Hartlepool Borough Council’s highways employee later died aged 52, after spending three years in a nursing home in a persistent vegetative state.

Ever since his death his family have been searching for answers. They felt let down by the system when an inquest found Tony had died an accidental death and could not apportion blame.

Insurers have now accepted some blame

Now, the insurers of the driver of the car, Julie Verrall from Hartlepool, have accepted some of the blame for her part in the accident.

It comes after a long fight by the family, the GMB and its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors.

Tony’s sister, Linda Hughes said: “The entire family are pleased someone has finally accepted responsibility for Tony’s accident. When we began civil proceedings we were not interested in compensation, this has always been about apportioning liability.

“Tony was never able to tell us what happened on that day and now we feel the final piece of the puzzle has been found.”

Local council highways workers face very serious dangers every day

Maxine Bartholomew, from the GMB, added: “Local council highways workers face very serious dangers on a day to day basis and we want to work with the councils to ensure the safety of our members.

“In this case the insurers of the driver of the vehicle have accepted part responsibility for the accident. We have been pleased to support the family in their quest for justice.”

Andrew McDonald from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The family lost Tony twice - once at the time of his accident and, after visiting him every single day that he remained in a persistent vegetative state, on his death.

“We owed it to Tony to try and find out exactly what happened and to find out who was responsible.”

This story was also published by the Hartlepool Mail.