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O v Muller Wiseman Dairies, Quantum: EL Claim - Andrea Ribchester-Hodgson & Sarah Wright, Spencers Solicitors

26/01/17. Accident date: 18/7/2010. Settlement date: 21/10/2015. Gross settlement: £235,000.00

The claim

The Claimant; Mr O, a 35 year old Maintenance Engineer employed by the Defendant, was carrying out maintenance work on a piece of machinery. There was insufficient space in the area of the machine to use a stepladder and he had to step down a 2 ½ foot drop. As he did so, Mr O lost his balance and fell onto his left ankle.

Mr O was taken to hospital following the accident however investigations showed no bony injury, a sprain was diagnosed and he was discharged to the care of his GP. He struggled to walk and initially used borrowed crutches to mobilise, continuing to experience problems with the ankle thereafter.

Subsequent to Mr O’s accident the Defendant installed 3 steps with anti-slip plates, and put up a handrail to make access to the machinery safer.

Mr O did not instruct Solicitors until 2 ½ years post accident as he did not wish to claim against his employer, however as his symptoms were worsening he was concerned about his future.

Liability

The Defendant accepted primary liability but alleged contributory negligence which was resolved in the ratio 90/10 in the Claimant’s favour.

Quantum

Due to the increasing level of symptoms Mr O underwent an MRI scan which revealed an osteochondritic segment involving a talar dome, a kissing lesion of the distal tibia and surrounding bone marrow oedema. He underwent a left ankle arthroscopy in July 2014 which revealed degeneration and osteochondritic segments in the tibia and talus, which were debrided. Whilst he experienced a degree of improvement he continued to suffer ongoing fatigue and pain.

Medical evidence suggested Mr O’s condition would deteriorate and further surgery would be required. He was considered disadvantaged on the open labour market on account of the post-traumatic sequelae.

Mr O was unable to continue with his hobbies of cycling or going to the gym and he struggled with caravanning which he had previously enjoyed. Prolonged driving, cold temperatures and using stairs caused him difficulty.

Whilst Mr O continued to work for the Defendant, he had begun to struggle at work and had experienced instances of his ankle giving way.

Court proceedings were issued on 4 July 2013 for limitation purposes with medical treatment ongoing.

On 22 September 2015, the defendant made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £75,000.00 net of liability and without sight of an updated Schedule of Loss. Once the updated Schedule was served, an increased Part 36 offer of £175,000.00 and a time restricted offer of £200,000 were made by the defendant.

The claimant solicitors negotiated an increased settlement of £235,000.00 net of liability. There was no specific breakdown but the claimant solicitors estimated; £9,183.60 for past losses, £203,316.40 for future losses and £22,500.00 for general damages, net of liability.

Solicitor for the Claimant: Andrea Ribchester-Hodgson for Spencers Solicitors

Solicitor for the Defendant: Kate Nielson for DAC Beachcroft

Image ©iStockphoto.com/BartCo