A Peterborough man whose knee cap was broken in a hit-and-run by an uninsured driver is looking to rebuild his life after being awarded a six-figure sum.
Connor Potkins (23) from Stanground was knocked off his motorbike in November 2009 when he was only 17-years-old and has suffered from the dramatic physical and psychological effects ever since.
The incident occurred while Connor was on his way to Peterborough Regional College where he studied fabrication and welding.
Connor was travelling along Eastfield Road when a Vauxhall Zafira came speeding out of a side road and collided with him head-on.
The uninsured driver then made off down Monument Street but there was no sign of the car.
Connor was rushed to nearby Peterborough District Hospital where he was treated for a shattered knee and broken toes, as well as serious injuries to his ankle and foot. He remained in hospital for a month and underwent an operation to repair his broken kneecap.
For the following two years Connor had to use crutches and a wheelchair and, since the accident, he has endured five operations on his knee.
As a direct result of his injuries Connor cannot kneel down or take part in any contact sports and doctors believe he will require a full knee replacement in the next four to five years along with even more operations.
Medical evidence also suggests that Connor will need two walking sticks and a chair lift fitted in his home by the age of 49.
Connor is now planning to use the money to adapt his house to help him manage his mobility.
Describing the difficulties he has faced in the past five-and-a-half years since the accident, he said: “It took me so close I could nearly see insanity.
“I did not think a human being could endure as much pain.
“If it was not for my dad, nan and close friends I would not be here. You do feel useless.”
Speaking about his settlement he added: “I was happy it’s all over. It’s the final chapter of the most horrible that’s ever happened to me.”
As well as his physical injuries, the accident also took an emotional toll. At the time of the accident Connor had a promising career ahead of him as a welder.
However, he’s been told he will now never be able to return to a manual job.
Connor, who now works for English Heritage as a freelance photographer, still suffers from severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he continues to have recurring nightmares and frequent intrusive thoughts that occur throughout the day.
A large part of the claim was made up by Connor’s loss of earnings as before the accident occurred he was almost at the end of completing his apprenticeship to become a welder.
Following a police investigation in April 2010, the owner of the car was eventually tracked and it was discovered that he was an uninsured driver.
Following the crash, Connor worked closely with serious injury specialists Fletchers Solicitors in successfully bringing a claim for the injuries he suffered and his loss of earnings.
And he recently received a six-figure settlement in compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau which was set up for hit-and-run victims.
Connor made a plea through the Peterborough Telegraph in November 2009 for the hit-and-run motorist to give himself up, but he said the driver has never been caught.
Connor added: “I can’t thank the solicitors enough. They cared about my well-being.
“The people I worked with have demonstrated a real sense of empathy and understanding of what I have been going through, and for this I am very grateful.
“Anyone in a similar predicament would be lucky to have them.”
Jennifer Steele, a serious injury solicitor at Fletchers Solicitors who worked on the case, said: “The circumstances surrounding Connor’s accident were truly dreadful.
“The fact that the driver involved was uninsured and drove off without assisting Connor, leaving him in constant pain, is just unforgivable.
“He had a promising career ahead of him which he really enjoyed but because of this careless driver he can no longer follow this path.
“As a result, a large part of this claim was made up by Connor’s loss of earnings. We hope that the compensation will go some way to restoring some normality in Connor’s life and allow him to start looking forward to the future.”