Posted on 07 Dec 2021
Since being hit by a car while crossing a Geelong road eight years ago, Charlotte Lawrance has never been the same.
Aged 14 at the time, Charlotte was walking to a friend’s house with two others on 14 March 2014, when, as they crossed Newtown’s West Fyans Street, she was struck by a car.
The vehicle had overtaken another car that was turning into Boswell Street whose driver had waved Charlotte, who was walking ahead of her friends, across.
The car struck the left side of her body, flung her into a nearby tree before she came to rest on the ground. There, she had a seizure then stopped breathing.
“I can’t remember anything about it, but I know I died for a little bit,” she said.
Luckily, a retired neurosurgeon was travelling a few cars behind so came to her aid.
“I’ve been told that he got out and poked me in the head to confirm that I had a fractured skull, then he brought me back to life,” she said. “If he hadn’t come and helped, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
Charlotte was flown to Royal Children’s Hospital where she was placed in an induced coma for seven days. When she woke up, she had to learn how to walk again and had a long recovery ahead of her. She missed about a year of school and took a long time to feel safe enough to cross even the quietest of roads.
In addition to a fractured skull, she suffered a broken left arm and an acquired brain injury, the latter, which still haunts her all these years later.
“It’s affected my eyesight to the point that I’m not legally allowed to get my driver’s licence,” she said. “It’s really hard because all of my friends are now driving and their younger brothers and sisters are getting theirs too, so I feel like I’m being left behind.”
She said the experience had left her extra vigilant on or around roads, even as a car passenger because: “I know how quickly life can be turned upside down.
“It surprises me the number of people who don’t really care and break the rules and assume ‘it won’t happen to me’,” she said. “It can happen to anyone.”
She said it was frustrating that she was still fighting the TAC for her lawful entitlements, including travel assistance so she could get to and from work and earn a wage and get on with life as best she could.
Her lawyer Sarah Elseidy, from Slater and Gordon, who is assisting Charlotte in accessing her entitlements under the TAC scheme, encouraged everyone to take more care on or around Greater Geelong roads, especially in the lead up to Christmas and over the summer period when more people were about.
“Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable on our roads and the consequences can be significant, as Charlotte’s story highlights,” she said.
Andrea Petrie on 0428 994 937