A car salesman suffered a traumatic brain injury when a colleague ploughed into him in a Car Giant forecourt in a freak accident.
Mohammed Al-Zehairi, 27, was hit at speed when a co-worker lost control of a Citroen car that he was preparing for a test-drive at the firm’s White City complex.
Mr Al-Zehairi spent about two weeks at St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, being treated for a fractured skull and leg injury. He has long-term personality change as a result of the brain injury.
Today his family revealed details of the case, for which they are seeking personal damages exceeding £300,000 in the High Court to fund rehabilitation and cover loss of earnings.
Mr Al-Zehairi’s sister Wajd, 24, said he had no memory of the incident. “It’s hard to say he is getting better because he is different,” she said. “Before he was the most chilled, most relaxed, laid-back person. Now he can be really sensitive about any little thing, and all of a sudden be angry or upset.”
On April 1, 2017 the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso was being readied to be shown to a customer. After being jump-started it was left with its engine running beside a security cabin where Mr Al-Zehairi was standing. When the co-worker got back in the car he is believed to have caught his foot in the pedals. It shot forward, hitting Mr Al-Zehairi, the cabin and a security barrier. A security guard escaped with minor injuries.
Car Giant has admitted liability and made small interim payments but is in dispute about the total amount of damages. A High Court order states that “judgment be entered for the claimant in full with damages to be assessed”.
The Health and Safety Executive investigated but decided not to prosecute, in part because the car had passed its MOT four days earlier.
Mr Al-Zehairi, who lives with his two sisters and mother in Ladbroke Grove, is unlikely to be able to return to his old job and needs help managing his affairs.
Prior to the incident he had taken the paternal role, the siblings’ father having left when they were children. “He did all the DIY, helped my aunt and mother with finances and household bills and generally took care of us all,” said Ms Al-Zahairi, whose sister Meriam is 19.
Claire Glasgow, from Fieldfisher law firm, acting for Mr Al-Zehairi, said that Car Giant admitted liability for his injuries after judgment was entered against them in the civil courts.
Car Giant director Michael Holahan said: “We are sorry that Mr Al-Zehairi has sustained serious injuries. This incident is now the subject of legal proceedings, we are cooperating with those and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”