Sarah’s son Jarrad was hit by a car in 2007 at the age of 12. He was with his friends who were on bicycles while he kept up with them on his trainers with in-built wheels. No-one is quite sure what happened but Jarrad was hit by a car while crossing the road. “I was told this was a classic case of ‘wrong time, wrong place’ says Sarah. “If Jarrad had crossed a second earlier or later he wouldn’t have been hit. It literally takes a second to wreck a life on the road.”
Jarrad survived the impact and made a full physical recovery. But he sustained a frontal lobe injury to his brain. This area governs concentration, memory, forward planning and personality and the damage has left Jarrad socially maladjusted, very hard to live with and a danger to himself and others.
“Jarrad looks like any other 19 year old man but his brain doesn’t fully function. He has no insight which means he lacks inhibition, social manners or awareness of other people’s feelings. He has no memory and cannot concentrate for more than a minute or two. This means he can’t work or live an independent life,” says Sarah. After seven years with Jarrad at home, Sarah could no longer cope. With the compensation Jarrad received with the help of his Brain Injury Group solicitor, CLmedilaw, they can afford for him to live at a home for brain injured men.
“There’s not a lot to my son; he has no personality and there is no hope of any improvement. Our relationship has broken down and I can’t see a way for it to be restored.” Brain injury is called the ‘invisible disability’ and Jarrad is living proof of this. “If Jarrad had a limp, a facial injury or some other physical impairment, it might make it easier for people to realise he’s not quite right,” says Sarah. “You look at him and see a physically fit 19 year old man: there is nothing to indicate the problems he has – or the problems he could cause.”