The claimant’s details have been changed but this is indeed a true case
Phil Mulryne acted for Mr T, the Claimant to pursue a claim for personal injuries following an accident at work.
At the time, the Claimant was employed as a labourer. He worked exclusively for the Defendant, mainly doing painting and decorating jobs.
The Claimant was working in a confined area and he could not fully open the step ladder to paint the walls and ceiling.
The step ladder slipped and as he jumped off it, he sustained a significant injury to his knee.
The claim was presented to his employers who denied liability on the basis that Mr T was working in an unsafe manner and that there was in fact sufficient room for him to fully open the ladder.
Arguments were put forward by ourselves on the basis that there was an insufficient pre-accident risk assessment of the task being carried out and we were confident that we would establish negligence against the Defendants, although we had concerns that there would be a finding of contributory negligence as the Claimant was experienced in undertaking these tasks and it was accepted by Mr T that he was carrying out a task that was dangerous with a real risk of the ladder slipping.
The Defendants put forward an offer to settle the liability aspect of the claim on a 50/50 basis. This was rejected and counter proposals were put forward with agreement being reached on a 70/30 liability apportioned basis.
As a consequence of the accident, the Claimant suffered a serious injury to his right knee. He was taken to hospital by an ambulance and investigations discovered that he had suffered a fracture to the upper part of his right shin bone. He underwent surgery with plate and screws inserted. The Claimant remained in hospital for around a week. The Claimant underwent extensive physiotherapy and could only walk with the use of a stick. Around 18 months later, he had further surgery to remove the plate and pins from the knee joint. The Claimant was advised that he would require knee replacement surgery in the future but due to the nature of his ongoing symptoms, he underwent knee replacement surgery around 4 years post-accident. It was anticipated that he would potentially require further knee replacement surgery in the future.
The Claimant was off work for around 7 months and then he went back to work on the understanding that this would be on lighter duties, but when it was established that he couldn’t do any physical work, his employment was terminated.
The Claimant was then out of work for around 18 months before obtaining a role as a delivery driver.
The medical evidence supported the fact that he would not be able to return to any type of work similar to the role he had undertaken prior to the accident, but would be able to continue to work as a delivery driver or similar work.
A loss of earnings claim was put forward. During the period of absence from work, the Clamant received sickness pay and also he received benefits during the period that he was unemployed. However, the Claimant was unable to prove that his delivery driver role paid him less than his pre-accident salary.
The Claimant required quite a lot of help and assistance from his wife and family following the accident. The initial period following the accident after discharged from hospital he was unable to weight bear for a period and had to have help with personal hygiene from his wife and daughter. He could not undertake his share of housework or do any gardening. The Claimant required further help and assistance after his subsequent surgeries.
The Defendants put forward an offer of £40,000.00 to settle the Claimant’s claim which was rejected.
As an agreement could not be reached between the parties, Court proceedings were initiated. The Court allocated a hearing date but the matter was resolved before the claim proceeded to trial.
The Defendants increased their previous offer to £90,000.00 gross and settlement was eventually reached at £100,000.00 gross (£70,000.00 net of contributory negligence).
It was felt that the personal injury damages claim was worth in the region of £50,000.00. A claim was included for £20,000.00 potential future surgery costs and loss of earnings in the region of £20,000.00 to £30,000.00. As a global settlement figure was put forward, it is not possible to provide a definitive breakdown of the offer. There was also a claim for care and assistance provided by family members as indicated above and some travel/medication costs.
Upon further investigations of the Claimant’s loss of earnings claim, it was noted that he had not incurred a significant loss during the period that he was employed post-accident, but he incurred loss of earnings during the period when he was not working (less any benefits he received during that period) and he was restricted in terms of his future working capacity because he couldn’t return to his pre-accident employment.