Barnsley dad suffered spinal fractures after drink-driver travelling wrong way on A1 smashed head-on into car
Matthew Arnold, 39, suffered a catalogue of injuries in the crash which happened on the A1 near Tuxford, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Matthew, who was unconscious when emergency services arrived at the scene, was trapped in his vehicle and had to be freed.
He spent five nights in hospital.
The Lexus driver was jailed for 15 months earlier this year.
Matthew has now spoken out for the first time on how his horrific injuries have impacted his life and family.
“The collision happened so quickly. One moment I was driving to work as normal and then the next thing there were headlights coming towards me. I didn’t have time to react”, he said.
“At that moment I knew life wouldn’t be the same again.”
Matthew said he had never experienced such pain and fear as in the crash.
"When people talk about life flashing before your eyes I now understand how that feels”, he added.
“Once in hospital the full realisation of the seriousness of the situation really sunk in.
"In some ways I felt lucky to be alive, but I was worried about what the future would hold, how would I be able to work and provide for my family.
“Leaving hospital and returning home was just the first part of my recovery.
"I’m reliant on Laura for a lot of help, even things like getting dressed.”
Matthew said his family life had been forever changed.
“Before the collision we had a great family life”, he continued.
"We enjoyed things like family breakfasts, days out and walking the dog together. I also enjoyed going to the football and going out for meals, but a lot of that has changed.
“I have to walk with the aid of a stick and can only walk for very short periods of time which completely exhausts me.
“I’m in constant pain with my back which often means I can’t leave the house.
“Financially the collision has had a massive impact on our lives.
" I was on my way to a job I’d worked so hard for and loved. I was in line for a promotion which we were excited about as this would enable us to move to a bigger home and have more financial security.
“I can’t thank Laura and the rest of my family enough for everything they’ve done for me. The last few months have been unimaginably difficult, but I’ve managed to get through them because of their support.
“I want to make the best recovery I can for my family. I just hope that by speaking out people realise how lives can be changed and the need to everyone to be careful on the roads.”
Matthew still lives with severe pain in his back, foot and arm and struggles to walk because of his injuries. Matthew is reliant on his wife to help him get dressed and struggles to walk upstairs.
Following the crash, Matthew instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the ongoing specialist support, therapies and rehabilitation he requires.
The keen Doncaster Rovers fan is joining his legal team at Irwin Mitchell in supporting Road Safety Week and warning of the consequences of dangerous driving.
In a separate civil case, Irwin Mitchell has secured an early admission of liability from the driver’s insurers and substantial interim payments.
The funds have enabled Matthew to receive rehabilitation to help him during his long recovery from his injuries.
Kelly Lingard, the specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Matthew, said: “Matthew’s case vividly highlights how the serious injuries people suffer in crashes not only greatly affect that person’s life, but also the lives of their family.
“Understandably the last few months and coming to terms with physical and psychological impact of the collision has been incredibly difficult for Matthew and his loved ones. As a devoted husband and dad, Matthew feels devastated as his return to work is uncertain during the recovery from the serious injuries he sustained .
“While he’s starting to make progress in his recovery through access to rehabilitation, Matthew still faces many challenges to overcome his injuries the best he can. We continue to support Matthew and his family to help Matthew maximise his recovery.
“In the meantime, we join Matthew in supporting Road Safety Week. We hope what happened to Matthew acts as a warning to the consequences innocent road users can be left to face because of the dangerous actions of others.”
In September, the driver of the Lexus was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for three years.
He had previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink-driving.
Road Safety Weeks runs from November 19 to 25 and is run by the road safety charity Brake.
For more information visit the Brake website.