March man awarded £1.8 million after losing leg in horror crash will finally get a specialist bed
PUBLISHED: 16:03 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:47 14 February 2020
A March man awarded £1.8 million after he lost his leg when his bin truck ploughed into a lorry has expressed frustration over the need to involve trustees who oversee his compensation in matters such as buying a bed.
Michael Bagridge says he has slept on the sofa for the past few days and urgently needs a new specialist bed to get a good night's sleep.
But he has been unhappy about the need to get others to approve the purchase and subsequent delay in getting what he needs.
Michael had his left leg amputated after a horrific crash while working as a binman for Fenland District Council in January 2013.
Approving the £1.8m settlement of the case, Judge David Pittaway QC said the damages would "enhance his quality of life".
But since then Michael claims that he feels as though his life has turned into a battle against his solicitors Ashtons Legal - who take care of his money in a trust.
Michael says he is currently sleeping on the sofa in his house he shares with wife Leisha and two stepchildren after he claims solicitors say his quotes for a new bed were "too expensive".
He alleges: "Ashtons is not letting me have a new solid bed base and mattress - knowing that I'm sleeping on the sofa."
A spokesperson for Ashtons said: "It would be entirely inappropriate for us to comment in detail on this.
"Suffice it to say that we take our obligations to both our clients and, where applicable, to the Office of the Public Guardian, very seriously.
"It is not always straightforward managing compensation funds which are designed to provide care for an injured person for the rest of their lives.
"All purchases need to be given proper consideration and this inevitably makes the purchase process a little longer than when someone manages their own money and can go into a shop and make an immediate decision."
Michael said: "My wife and I went out to look at beds this weekend and to get some quotes to send to the solicitors.
"One was for £1300 and another was for £1400. I phoned the solicitors and they said it was too expensive for a bed."
Michael says that he is allowed £25 a day to live on out of his money and manages to get by on about £9,000 a year.
But over the past year he claims he has had to fight to get maintenance issues resolved in the property in Wisbech Road, March, - which he has lived in for the past five years.
The 29-year-old had to be cut from the wreckage of the vehicle, in Hostmoor Avenue, March, and is now wheelchair bound much of the time.
Michael, then 22, and a refuse collection loader, was in the passenger seat when the front cab collapsed on impact.
Five ambulances, three fire crews and the air ambulance attended on the morning of the accident.
Michael's colleague, John King, lost both his legs, but sadly passed away in 2016 following a battle with cancer.
The driver of the dustcart, Alan Smith, suffered mentally following the crash, although he was not significantly injured.
The driver of the parked lorry was unharmed.
Michael sued his employers Fenland District Council - but the court heard liability was never in dispute.
He appeared on crutches at court in June 2014.
Michael says Leisha, 34, has been there for him in the darkest of times.
Leisha said: "I work six days a week and even signed a pre-nuptial agreement before we got married.
"I bought everything for the wedding out of my own money.
"But that doesn't make Michael feel good, if anything he then feels less of a man by not being able to take care of me.
"I don't think he should have all the money - but he needs to have some control and a set amount a year so that he can budget throughout the month."
Speaking about the horrific event of seven years ago, Michael said his mental health still suffers daily.
"It's always at the start of the year when it's the anniversary that I feel depressed," he said.
"But I know that I'll have to live this way for the rest of my life.
"I just feel so angry. I can't even enjoy my money after everything that has happened."