Lawyer Monthly - February 2023

client directly, as instructed. We are also available to help with ‘vehicle off road’ situations and accidents and, where available, can assist with the provision of a rental vehicle to keep clients mobile. We charge a small service fee for our administration and provide all of this information with every new vehicle we supply. What are the distinctive challenges when it comes to assessing the precise mobility needs of your clients? How do you develop a bespoke solution? There are many challenges that we face when assessing a client for their transport needs. Putting together a criteria of their requirements is just the beginning. Once the criteria has been established we then need to determine which set of specialists we can liaise with to bring it all together. No two clients are the same and whilst they both might require a vehicle that they can either access in a wheelchair or Contact Niki Sinclaire, Personal Transport Expert Witness Personal Mobility Solutions Ltd Cedarmount House, 90a Owlsmoor Road, Sandhurst, Berkshire, GU47 0SS, UK Tel: +44 01344 989140 E: Niki Sinclaire “I have worked in the automotive industry for over 20 years and have been with Personal Mobility Solutions for five years. I have a background in litigation and worked for a leading car hire company as a litigation manager. Wanting to add to my qualifications, I studied as a counsellor and spent time working on an all-female acute forensic ward with patients of varying mental and physical ability under the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Act. On average I see between three and four clients a week for both passenger and driver needs, including all wheelchair-accessible vehicle requirements.” About Fortress BEC Personal Mobility Solutions is an established expert witness service that is recognised by the Court of Protection, with extensive experience in the assessment and provision of transport related mobility solutions throughout the UK. The firm has a proven track record working with legal professionals and deputies and is well equipped to provide consultation and implementation of automotive adaptations and conversions. carry out a wheelchair transfer into the driver’s seat, once they are on board they may need specific equipment to make the travelling experience safer and more comfortable. This may not be an off-the-shelf product or available through the adaptor and a bespoke solution will need to be sought. To give an example, I met a client who had severe burns to their torso and face and needed regular operations and skin grafts. Each operation left them in quite a lot of pain and discomfort whilst they were recovering. They found something as simple as having the seat belt across their chest and stomach extremely unpleasant and they became quite distressed when travelling. They had tried seat belt deflectors that were available on the market but to no avail. They needed something more tailored to them. They needed something that would enable them to wear a seatbelt so it would still function as it should, but that did not press against them. It also needed to be adjustable to allow for when they were wearing thicker clothing such as a winter coat. I had the knowledge that the right equipment did not exist. I also knew that this was something that a vehicle adaptor would not offer and would need to be a specialised piece of kit manufactured by an engineer. Working closely with the client I was able to design a mechanism that was fixed to their seat and that allowed the seatbelt to be worn without it pressing against their stomach. This proved to be very successful and enabled them to travel in comfort. This is just one of many examples where, as a company, we have had to find a tailored solution for our clients as it cannot be picked off the shelf. Another brief example is fitting a medical table and power inverter in the rear of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle that enabled a cough assist machine to be transported, powered and used whilst the client was travelling in their wheelchair. Again, this was not a product that could be found on the shelf and required a more bespoke approach. EXPERTWITNESS 67

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