Jan Vaile

In the summer of 2003 I was working as a teacher in a special school when I was assaulted by a 15 year old pupil. I sustained a blow to my left temple and a stab wound to my hand. I had multiple detachments to my left retina. Over the next few month I developed such a fear of leaving the house that I thought I was going to die if I did, nightmares, panic attacks and suicidal urges ( I was to discover this was PTSD). I had a compulsive need to clean the house or again the germs were going to kill me (this was my OCD). I had violent temper outbursts, headaches, difficulty in finding words, the inability to control my finances, not caring what I said to anyone (this verged on being both rude and unkind) and the most foul mouth (this was due to my brain injury).

I suffered this for nearly 3 years with some support from the mental health team and a psychiatrist but all to no avail.

I was then urged by my family to seek the help of a solicitor as I had had to retire from teaching on medical grounds. Little did I know then but the call I made going to turn my life around. I was put into contact with Chris Dickinson.

Chris took my case on even knowing that it was going to be a difficult case as we had to prove liability against a local authority. From the very start he was kind and caring and understood what I was going through. It wasn’t easy talking about what had happened but he took things at a pace I could cope with. He put together my case which in itself was difficult as my headmaster decided to both tamper with and invent evidence. As part of the evidence gathering Chris arranged for me to see some expert witnesses who were kind, understanding and supportive. Some of these came to my home to see me and others I went to see. I received copies of all their reports and Chris regularly updated me on where we were with the case. He was only ever a phone call away if I needed to speak to him. This I found really reassuring.

When it was time to go to court Chris arranged for me to meet Marcus Grant a barrister who was going to represent me in the High Court. What a clever man he turned out to be. Again he was kind, caring and nothing was too much effort. His knowledge in court was totally amazing. The High Court case went on for 7 full days and each evening after court Chris phoned when I got home to check that I was ok. High Court was eventful and extremely stressful but it was helped with having such a strong supportive, knowledgeable team around me. The headmaster chose to lie in court and all his previous evidence tampering was exposed by Mr Grant. However despite the Judge finding that the Local Authority were in breach of their duty of care towards me we lost the case because the Judge found that the breaches had not caused the assault on me!!

This was not the end Chris & Marcus Grant felt that the judge had got it wrong and an appeal was made.

At the appeal court I was represented by Andrew Prynne QC and Mr Grant. This time all three high court judges found in my favour.

We won the appeal. The local council was held liable for my injuries. Now we had to build the medical case

During the years of building my case Chris had urged me to go and see a clinical psychologist to treat all of my problems. I resisted feeling that my life was over and how I was, was how I would be for the rest of my life !

I eventually gave in and went for treatment with Miss Levett. We worked on my PTSD, OCD and management of my subtle brain damage. Within a year my life had been turned around. As long as I follow Miss Levett’s guidelines I am able to lead a good life. Oh how I wish I had listened to Chris earlier.

My case was finally settled out of court in September 2013. It had been a long haul and Chris Dickinson, Marcus Grant and my expert witnesses had supported me through out that time ( 7 years)

My advice to anyone would be to talk to Chris Dickinson he will give you only the very best advice, find you the best experts and be in it for the long haul and wont back out when the going gets tough. Rest assured that everything will be dealt with in an extremely professional manner.

I can’t thank Chris Dickinson enough for the way he handled my case.