Compensation for happy-go-lucky chef whose career was ended by a hit and run accident

Navdip Gill | Jun 2023

Chefs have a reputation for working hard and playing hard in a career which offers opportunities to travel and often includes accommodation, a valuable benefit for young people in the current challenging property market.

The accident

Brain injury expert Navdip Gill recently helped to obtain compensation for a young chef whose career was ended in a horrific hit and run accident. The accident happened while our client was halfway across the road, and the driver of the vehicle drove over the chef’s body and proceeded along the road for a couple of hundred metres, dragging the young man’s body beneath the car, before returning to the scene.

Fortunately, there were witnesses to the accident, and the driver was arrested, charged, sentenced to 21 months’ in prison, and given a two-year driving ban on his release. However, this does nothing to help the chef who has suffered greatly due to the extensive injuries, and has been left with long term health problems which leave him unable to continue working as a chef.

The accident caused several fractures along his body from the impact, severe skin abrasions from being dragged along the tarmac, a bone exposed where the skin had been ripped away, a 4cm tear to his spleen, and the destruction of one of his kidneys. He also suffered mild traumatic brain injury and has no memory of the event, having been induced into a coma on arrival at the intensive care unit by air ambulance.  The chef spent 76 days in hospital and the injuries were so serious that his family was advised that it was unlikely he would survive. Thankfully, this was not the case and he was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the open wound was repaired with a skin graft.

Other impact on life

Our client came to Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, several months after his accident, due to our reputation for dealing with complex high value personal injury claims, especially ones involving brain injury.

Since the accident in September 2019, the young man had been unable to work, his life had been turned upside down, and three years on he was still suffering health problems arising from the injuries and his mental health. The chronic pain and scarring, along with a loss of energy and stamina, mean that he is unable to cope with any prolonged physical activity and he has struggled to find meaningful employment. He was also depressed as he found it difficult to be reliant on others, angry about the situation, and naturally he was anxious about the future.

His inability to work has caused significant financial hardship, and our client had to fall back on social housing provision after becoming homeless in 2020. At one point, he was housed in multi-occupancy council property alongside drug addicts.  To improve the situation, the team at Geoffrey Leaver was able to secure a six-figure interim payment from the driver’s insurance company which enabled our client to rent private accommodation and to help his recovery with some private treatments.

Meanwhile it was clear that our client still needed support in his rehabilitation and we obtained multi-disciplinary expert reports regarding his health conditions and his future needs which included: occupational therapy; psychological therapy and physio therapy.  It was not until 2021 that the extent of his head injury and the symptoms of PTSD were fully diagnosed, and we were able to put together comprehensive claim for compensation and appropriate rehabilitation and support.

Future loss of earnings

A key part of the claim for compensation was based on his future earning potential. As a physically fit young chef with excellent prospects of ongoing employment, he would have expected to work until normal retirement age of 68. While our client may be able to return to some modest part-time work in the future, he has been recognised as disabled, and effectively he has been deprived of some 32 years of solid earning capacity.  Aside from compensation for his direct salary, it was also important to take into account the other valuable benefits of working as a chef which include free accommodation with bills covered, free food when working, and tips.

Our expertise

Armed with evidence of his needs from brain injury specialists and experts in haematology and nephrology (in regard to the injuries to his spleen and kidney) we also claimed for a structured programme of treatment including neuropsychological support, neuropsychiatric treatment, occupational therapy, and bespoke EMDR/CBT therapy.

In addition, we claimed sums to compensate for past care provided by his mother, out-of-pocket expenses, and future needs in regard to future costs of DIY and home maintenance which would have been able to undertake himself if he was fit and healthy. Finally, we claimed an amount in recognition of the pain and suffering caused by the accident.

The insurer of the driver agreed to an out-of-court payment of £500,000 in settlement. While this will enable our client to start to rebuild his life, we understand that it will never replace the social aspects and camaraderie which comes from being part of a tight-knit team of chefs.

Contact us

To find out more about how our personal injury team may be able to help you claim compensation following an accident that was not your fault, please contact Navdip Gill on 01908 689375 or via email at to arrange a free and no obligation initial consultation.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.


If you would like to receive automatic notifications of our latest news you can sign up to receive our newsletters or follow us on LinkedinTwitter or Facebook.

Navdip Gill | Personal Injury Partner

Navdip Gill | Partner

Share this:

Related articles