The teenage daughter of a Unite member whose back was broken in a horrific car accident has received compensation after help from the trade union’s solicitors.

The 17-year-old from Shrewsbury was just 14 when the driver of the car she was a passenger in lost control of the vehicle causing it to crash through a fence and plunge into a river in December 2008.

She suffered a fractured spine and damaged spleen and spent the next two weeks in a specialist children’s hospital.

Although the teenager, who has now left school, has made a good recovery from her injuries she still suffers from pain and had to give up her dream of becoming a hairdresser because she cannot stand for long periods of time. Additionally a 12-inch scar on her back acts as a lasting reminder of the accident.

Accident caused her to miss school

The impact of the accident meant she missed many months of school and left without any qualifications. She now hopes to train as a health and beauty therapist.

Her father, a lifelong member of Unite, contacted the trade union to see if its free legal service could help the family claim compensation.

Unite instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue compensation from the driver of vehicle’s insurers.

Thompsons was successful in settling the claim out of court for £29,000 after the driver admitted liability.

We’re indebted to Unite and Thompsons Solicitors

The Unite member said: “From the horror of the phone call to say what had happened through her hospitalisation to watching our daughter deal with her injuries has been a nightmare. For a while we feared the worst. Fortunately she has healed quickly but her dream of becoming a hairdresser has gone.

“This money is being put aside until she is older. It doesn’t make up for the dreams she has lost but it will help her financially.

“We’re indebted to Unite and Thompsons Solicitors. Without their expertise and guidance we would still be in the nightmare.”

Gerard Coyne, regional secretary of Unite said: “We are pleased that our free legal service has helped this family during a very worrying and trying time. The provision of legal services is an important part of Unite membership and as this case shows it extends not just to members but also to their family and friends.”

Richard Cartwright from Thompsons Solicitors added: “A terrifying ordeal for this teenager became a nightmare for her parents as they watched her literally get back on her feet. This is a good settlement and will hopefully enable her and her family to put the accident behind them.”