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Case Report: B v X - Helen Reynolds, Spencers Solicitors

07/09/22. Case Name: B v X
Court Name: Nottingham County Court
Accident Date: 04/03/2017
Settlement Date: 11/02/2022
Total gross settlement: £110,000.00

Background and Injury

Instructions were received to act on behalf of the Claimant in connection with a claim for damages arising from an injury sustained whilst playing "zorb" or "bubble" football at an event organised and provided by the Defendant on 04 March 2017.

The Claimant was aged 26 at the time of the incident. The Claimant was provided with an inflatable bubble or "zorb" by the coach in charge of the event on the day in question; the Claimant felt that the ball was too small with his head at the top of the ball and complained to the coach. Despite these complaints no alternative ball was provided. The coach thereafter instigated a game of "bulldog" where players were instructed to run directly at one another; the Claimant ran at another participant as instructed wherein his head collided with his opponent's shoulder with significant force.

The Claimant was aware of severe and immediate pain in his neck and was unable to continue with the activity. On presentation at A&E the next day it was discovered that he had sustained two fractures to his neck as a result of the incident.

The Claimant suffered severe neck pain with symptoms of pins and needles, numbness, cramp and pain and loss of balance. The pain radiated into his arm.

The Claimant underwent an operation to stabilise the fracture initially and subsequently received, physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments on a long-term basis. He continues to suffer with occasional, but severe debilitation, flare ups and takes pain relief.

Subsequent investigations revealed two sites of deterioration and degenerative changes just above the operative site, accounting for the ongoing symptoms. These degenerative changes were considered to be a result of the injury and surgery rather than natural degenerative changes. As these changes continue to develop, the Claimant's symptoms are expected to worsen and is likely to develop nerve impingement. He will require surgery within the next 5-10 years and continue to suffer flare ups of the neck pain. In addition, he has a 20-30% chance of ongoing arm pain.

The Claimant worked as a Ground worker, involving manual labour. He required 3 months off work initially, thereafter, returning on a protracted period of time on lighter duties. He returned to full time duties in 2020, however, ongoing flare ups and pain caused him to take days off work and avoid some heavier jobs. His ongoing symptoms will restrict the Claimant's capacity and abilities at work. When he does suffer flare ups, he will need time off work to recover and recuperate and he is at a disadvantage on the open labour market.

Prior to the incident, the Claimant enjoyed going to the gym, boxing and weightlifting. He was unable to do these activities after the incident.

The Claimant suffered with dreams and flashbacks of the incident. The injury left the Claimant feeling very worried about his neck. He was anxious about going out and suffered panic attacks. He had trouble sleeping and lost interest in a lot of things.

The Claimant was diagnosed with PTSD and a Major Depressive Episode. He received a course of CBT treatment and residual remaining symptoms were consistent with an Adjustment Disorder with a prognosis for further improvement over time.

Medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Spinal Surgeon and a Clinical Psychologist.


The Defendant denied liability for the incident, stating that they were not vicariously liable for the actions of the coach and that the bubble was appropriate and safe for the Claimant; the Defendant further argued the incident was unforeseeable.

Th Claimant contended that the Defendant was indeed vicariously liable for the actions of the coach, as their staff or agent. Further, the Claimant maintained that the bubble ball provided was not a suitable size and relied on the manufacturer's guidance.

In light of the Defendant's denial of liability, proceedings were commenced and a Defence was filed.

The Defendant maintained their denial of liability but settlement was reached in discussions just 2 days before Trial.


The matter was settled in the sum of £110,000.00.

The Claimant was aged 31 at the time of settlement.

Although settlement was agreed on a global basis, the Claimant's Solicitors provide the following breakdown; £40,000.00 General Damages £9,000 Past Losses (including treatment, loss of earnings, care and assistance, travel and medication) £10,000 Smith & Manchester Award and Loss of enjoyment (holiday and other physical activities)

£50,000 Future losses (treatment, care and assistance, travel, loss of earnings, medication)

£1,000 interest

TOTAL: £110,000.00

Solicitors for the Claimant: Helen Reynolds; Spencers Solicitors
Counsel for the Claimant: Shilpa Shah, Ropewalk Chambers
Solicitors for the Defendant: DAC Beachcroft

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