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Case Summary: CS v Alan Smith, Northampton CCMCC - Emma Melia & Sarah Wright, Spencers Solicitors

01/11/18. Case Name: CS v Alan Smith

Court Name: Northampton CCMCC

Accident Date: 5th June 2014

Settlement Date: 29th January 2018






The Claimant (age 32 at the time of the accident) was riding a Suzuki GS500 motorbike. He went round a roundabout when he noticed two other cars in front of him. They were indicating to turn right which prevented the Claimant from overtaking them. The Claimant noticed a car in his rear-view mirror. The car was very close to him. The cars in front turned right and the Claimant continued on to the next roundabout. There were two lanes, the left lane to turn left or straight on, and the right lane to turn right. There was a car approaching from the right so the Claimant slowed down to give way. He was in first gear and about to set off again when he was hit from the rear. The driver of the car had been looking to his right and did not see the Claimant. The Claimant’s bike was pushed onto the roundabout. The impact was so hard it punctured the front tyre on the passenger side of the Defendant’s vehicle.

The Claimant was thrown from his bike; he was assisted by witnesses until the emergency services arrived.

The emergency services attended the scene. The Claimant was taken to hospital and admitted. His left arm was broken, and he required surgery to put a plate in his arm. The arm had to be re-broken to fit the plate. He was in hospital for three days.

The Claimant also suffered with pain to the right-hand side of his back, left side ribcage, and numbness to his left shoulder and neck.



Liability was admitted by the Defendant on 30th July 2014




The Claimant sustained a fracture to the left distal radius which was treated by open reduction and internal fixation. There was an associated fracture of the tip of the ulna styloid process which did not unite. There was also an associated injury to the triangular fibrocartilage which was surgically repaired. The metalwork was removed in April 2015 but thereafter he had pain in the ulna border of the wrist and was unable to extend the thumb. The Claimant had an MR arthrogram for the left wrist in July 2015 which revealed the central perforation of the TFCC and surgery was undertaken in December 2015 with the wrist being immobilised in an above elbow plaster. The Claimant had difficulty in extending the thumb as a consequence of post-operative scarring and pain on the ulna side of the wrist and stiffness in the wrist.

By July 2014 the Claimant was diagnosed as having developed complex regional pain syndrome. Removal of the metalwork improved the pain initially but gradually the pain returned and spread to involve the whole arm. The Claimant attended a pain clinic where he tried physiotherapy, acupuncture and medication.

The pain in the left arm was severe radiating from the wrist up the arm as far as the shoulder. There was pain radiating to the palm but not the fingers. The limb felt heavy and not like his arm. The elbow felt like there was nerve pain. The limb would swell and go white in colour feeling cold to the touch.

He had had a previous injury to the dominant right hand which had resulted in some persisting disability and abnormal sensation. He had regained good function in the right hand but because of the index injury he had learnt to rely on the left more than would be usual for a right-handed person.

He would get pins and needles in the arm during the night. He could manage all personal care and adapted ways to do things but anything requiring bi-manual dexterity was difficult.

At the time of the accident the Claimant was working full-time as a car salesman but was unable to get back to that type of work because of the physical demands and he was unable to go out on test drives with customers due to travel anxiety. He took a job with Next in a warehouse but after two days he realised he could not manage the lifting. He managed to secure a full-time job working in a car auction where he is still working. This is non-physical work involving the use of a computer.

The Claimant has CRPS within the Budapest criteria. There is no history that would predispose him to neuropathic pain or CRPS and no risk factors for CRPS. The Claimant has a particular functional problem having developed a pain in his non-dominant left arm because he relied on this hand more, having had a previous dominant right-hand injury.

The Claimant is compromised on the open labour market with limited job choices. The Claimant requires further pain management into the future and he should be considered for referral for a spinal cord stimulator however this would not return him to a situation where he could do heavy physical work. The Claimant’s chronic regional pain syndrome is permanent. He will continue to be troubled by pain and will not regain his previous functional capacity. He should be able to continue to work in full-time light sedentary employment until he retires.

Settlement of the claim was agreed at a round table settlement meeting in January 2018

Solicitors for the Claimant: Emma Melia, Spencers Solicitors Limited

Counsel for the Claimant: Fiona Ashworth, Kings Chambers

Solicitor for the Defendant: Matthew Perkins, Keoghs LLP

Counsel for the Defendant: Unknown

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