Rosie Mayes, who was 20 at the time, was left tetraplegic – paralysed in both her arms and legs – after a collision three days before Christmas in 2009.
The now 32-year-old, from Hollinsend, was a passenger in a car which hit an embankment and overturned in Dronfield after swerving onto the wrong side of the road.
She spent 12 days in intensive care and remained in hospital for nine months before enduring a three-year legal battle when the driver's insurance firm contested liability over the collision.
Serious injury experts at the Irwin Mitchell law firm successfully secured Rosie a lifelong package incorporating 24-hour care and vital rehabilitation.
Rosie is now sharing her story as part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, on May 13, in a bid to help inspire others affected by spinal injuries.
Following Rosie’s discharge from hospital her family had to move into adapted accommodation.
Rosie explained: “After the accident, I knew my life would be different and my needs and priorities would change. It was very overwhelming at first and incredibly difficult to take in, but I was determined to get my independence back.”
The lawyers went on to secure a settlement for Rosie, which she described as “an enormous relief.”
As her recovery progressed, Rosie went on to regain some use of her arms, relearned how to use a touch screen phone and has adapted pens to help her write. She also returned to studying, completing her history degree at Sheffield University.
With the help of her financial support team, in 2016 she refurbished a villa in La Manga Club, Spain, which became the only property in the resort suitable for wheelchair users.
More than 12 years on from the accident, Rosie regularly reflects on her achievements which she calls her “small milestones.”
One of her happiest moments was being able to sign her own name again.
Rosie is now looking forward to moving into her own house, which is being built to suit her needs. She will be joined by her golden doodle Daisy, who she says keeps her active.
She also still enjoys attending gigs with her friends, adding: “My friends and family have always been there to keep my spirits up and keep me motivated. They know me and the life I lived before my injury, and they also know I’m just the same person now – the only difference is in my abilities.”
Stacy Clements, one of the specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell supporting Rosie and her family, said: “Through our work, we sadly come across many people who have suffered life-changing injuries and had their world turned upside down.
“Rosie, however, has defied the odds and doesn’t let her injuries stop her from living her life to the full as best she can.
“Serious injuries can have a huge impact on people and their family, but Rosie is proof that people can continue to flourish with the right care and support.”