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How just one punch can devastate a family

By Maria Dallas

Published In: Brain and Spinal Injury

Lots of people enjoy a good night out. But what if that night out doesn’t end with a take away and a taxi home? Let me tell you a story…..

Dave is 30. He works full-time, with a wife and two young children at home. Dave is your average guy – he works hard Monday to Friday, so that he can relax with his family and friends on the weekend.

Young family having fun baking

It’s a Saturday night, Dave is going into town with some of the lads for a few beers. It’s just a usual Saturday night and nothing particularly special. No doubt there will be some banter and lots of laughs over the course of the night.

At about 9pm, Dave and his mates decide it time for the next pub. Dave’s had a couple but feels ok. Some of the lads have had a couple more and are a bit loud but they don’t mean any harm.

They approach the next bar, but the doormen are not keen on letting in some of Dave’s friends as they are a little too rowdy for their liking. There are discussions and debates about if they are ok, why can’t they come in, what harm are they doing it’s a bar in town on a Saturday night for goodness sake, people are going to be rowdy!!

One of the lads has had enough and makes a step forward towards the doorman. Dave jumps to try and get between them and defuse the situation and BANG! The doorman punches Dave!

It was just one single punch, but it was enough to send Dave backwards and he falls to the ground. As he lands on the floor, his head hits the concrete and he’s knocked out. Chaos ensues some of Dave’s friends are slapping him on the face to wake him up, some of the lads are having a go at the doorman. All the while, Dave just lays there, motionless and non-responsive. After a few minutes, the realisation sinks in that something’s not right and someone calls an ambulance…..

Dave is taken to hospital. He’s still not awake. The lads call his wife and she rushes to his side. Dave has scans and tests. He’s diagnosed with a fractured skull and an injury to his brain. This is serious.

When he does eventually wake up, Dave doesn’t know where he is. He doesn’t remember what’s happened.  He understands that he is in hospital but why? And why can he talk but not find the words to say. And why is it making him so tired trying to think of the words to say?

Over the next few days, Dave is seen by so many people. It is overwhelming and exhausting and he still can’t really understand what is going on. He is told he will need rehabilitation but what does that mean and why does he need it? He can walk, he can talk, and he can feed himself. Can’t he just rest for a bit and just go back to work next week?

Dave has a traumatic brain injury, cause by one punch during an unimportant argument. Over the next few months, Dave needs additional care from family and friends to be able to function in daily life. He will also need help from professionals to help him navigate the issues and symptoms he is now left with poor speech, poor memory, balance issues, the list goes on. He has to take medication because he now might have but he’s never had a seizure before?

Dave can’t go to work because his headaches are so severe they debilitate him and just navigating basic day to day tasks is exhausting, without having to deal with tasks at work. His sleep is excessive but disturbed, his emotions are all over the place adverts on TV make him cry and the kids wanting to go on their iPads causes an angry outburst that terrifies them. And his wife. Well, she just doesn’t know what to do and can’t understand what has happened to her husband.

And all this…from one punch? Unbelievable, isn’t it?

So, Dave isn’t a real person, and this isn’t a real story, but Dave and his story mirror the stories of lots of other people who have been in this position and have suffered the injuries Dave has suffered and deal with the consequences every day.

One punch can destroy lives. The impact of a single event, a split-second decision can change a person’s story forever whether it’s the victim, their family or the attacker. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We support One Punch UK in educating people about the devastating effects one punch can have on somebodies’ life and supporting families through an incredibly difficult situation.

Switalskis has helped a number of people and their families who have been affected by one punch or circumstances similar the those in Dave’s story. We can look at the options for pursuing a claim for the injuries sustained and their long-lasting effects. This could be through a civil claim against a person or company or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. We can also help with matters such as Power of Attorney, Deputyship and Criminal Law advice.

If you or your family have been affected by one punch or a similar violent incident, we are here to support you. Call 01302 320621 or email

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Maria has been working in Personal Injury for 13 years.  She qualified as a Legal Executive in February 2019.

Chartered Legal Executive

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