Injured driver sues after smoke crash

PUBLISHED: 13:21 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 August 2010

A MOTORIST who suffered serious spinal injuries in a crash he blames on another driver is suing him for compensation.

A MOTORIST who suffered serious spinal injuries in a crash he blames on another driver is suing him for compensation.

Gary McCann, 21, of Northumberland Avenue, Welling, claims he lost control of his car as a result of an explosion and smoke from the vehicle in front when its engine seized, according to a writ issued at the High Court.

He needed surgery on his spine and, although he can walk with one crutch, he often falls over and cannot get up without help.

Mr McCann is suing Robert Scott, of Coppice Gate, Cheltenham, for compensation for the injuries he received in the accident on the M4 near Bradfield in Berkshire on July 22, 2007.

He had been following Mr Scott's Peugeot 406 when a cloud of smoke from the Peugeot meant he lost vision ahead, and then lost control of his VW Polo, the writ says. His car crossed onto the hard shoulder and overturned.

According to the writ, an investigation by Thames police revealed the smoke had come from an explosion which blew a hole in the engine block, caused by oil starvation.

Mr McCann accuses Mr Scott of negligence and says he failed to maintain oil in his engine, check oil levels, or fluid levels at least weekly, failed to inspect the car for signs of oil loss and heed signs of heavy oil consumption such as blue smoke.

The once keen footballer says he now suffers from impaired sensation and muscle power, and disabling pain despite hospital rehabilitation.

He says he has had to give up his hobbies including tennis, snooker and the gym, while suffering from bladder and bowel problems, nerve pain and spasms.

The claim is for damages and includes the cost of care and support, aids and appliances, therapies, medical treatment, adapted accommodation and loss of earnings.

Although the writ does not specify the level of compensation sought, it indicates that lawyers value the claim, if successful, as being worth more than £300,000.

No date has been set for a hearing, but it is expected to take place towards the end of the year or early in 2011.

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