A DAD who was seriously injured in a crash caused by a drink-driver travelling the wrong way up the A1 has revealed the life-changing impact the incident has had on his family.
Matthew Arnold, from Brierley, suffered a catalogue of injuries, including spinal fractures, a broken left arm and left foot as well as a separated bowel in the crash which happened on the A1 near Tuxford, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
The 39-year-old had been travelling to work as a heavy plant operator when a Lexus travelling north up the southbound carriageway hit his Vauxhall Corsa.
Matthew, who was unconscious when emergency services arrived at the scene, was trapped in his vehicle and had to be freed before spending time at Barnsley Hospital and eventually being discharged home to his wife, Laura, and the couple’s young daughter.
Following the crash, he instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the ongoing specialist support, therapies and rehabilitation he requires.
Matthew, who has been unable to return to work because of his injuries, has now spoken for the first time about the impact the collision has had on his family for Road Safety Week.
Matthew said: “The collision happened so quickly - one moment I was driving to work as normal and then the next thing there were headlights coming towards me.
“I didn’t have time to react but at that moment I knew life wouldn’t be the same again.
“I’ve never experienced such pain and fear - when people talk about life flashing before your eyes I now understand how that feels.
“Once in hospital the full realisation of the seriousness of the situation really sunk in.
“In some ways I felt lucky to be alive, but I was worried about what the future would hold, how would I be able to work and provide for my family.
“Leaving hospital and returning home was just the first part of my recovery. I’m reliant on Laura for a lot of help, even things like getting dressed.
“Before the collision we had a great family life, we enjoyed things like family breakfasts, days out and walking the dog together.
“I have to walk with the aid of a stick and can only walk for very short periods of time which completely exhausts me, I’m in constant pain with my back which often means I can’t leave the house.
“I’m a lot more anxious about going out, especially in a car, and only make essential journeys to hospital appointments as it’s just too stressful for me.
“Financially the collision has had a massive impact on our lives - I was on my way to a job I’d worked so hard for and loved and I was in line for a promotion which we were excited about as this would enable us to move to a bigger home and have more financial security.
“None of this can happen now as I’m still off work and it’s still uncertain if I’ll be able to return.
“I can’t thank Laura and the rest of my family enough for everything they’ve done for me.
“The last few months have been unimaginably difficult, but I’ve managed to get through them because of their support.
“I just hope that by speaking out people realise how lives can be changed and the need to everyone to be careful on the roads.”
In September, the driver of the Lexus was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for three years.
He had previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink-driving.
Irwin Mitchell secured an early admission of liability from the driver’s insurers and substantial interim payments.
Kelly Lingard, the specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Matthew, added: “This case vividly highlights how the serious injuries people suffer in crashes not only greatly affect that person’s life, but also the lives of their family.
“Understandably the last few months and coming to terms with physical and psychological impact of the collision has been incredibly difficult for Matthew and his loved ones.
“As a devoted husband and dad, Matthew feels devastated as his return to work is uncertain during the recovery from the serious injuries he sustained.
“While he’s starting to make progress in his recovery through access to rehabilitation, Matthew still faces many challenges to overcome his injuries the best he can.
“We hope what happened to Matthew acts as a warning to the consequences innocent road users can be left to face because of the dangerous actions of others.”