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03 September 2015
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have secured compensation for an HGV driver who suffered a broken ligament in his left thumb.
Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Clare Graham is a Practice Group Leader in the Employers’ Liability department at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Chester.
Settlement Value: £120,000
What happened: The client was an HGV driver who suffered a serious thumb injury at work while loading his tanker with fuel.
The work accident occurred when the client tripped over a large metal valve key which had been left sticking out from beneath the entrance to a kiosk.
He suffered a significant rupture of the beak ligament of his left thumb. He underwent an Eaton-Littler reconstruction of the base of his thumb but, unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful.
How Slater and Gordon helped: This claim was lodged very shortly after instructions were received. The defendant made an early admission of breach of duty but alleged contributory negligence at 1/3. The evidence did not bear this out however, and Slater and Gordon opposed the allegation robustly.
A suitable medical expert was identified and instructed early in the case. Medical evidence was obtained from an eminent surgeon specialising in this type of injury. Conferences were held with the expert to ensure his opinion was clear and consistent given the complex nature of the injury and the issues regarding the client’s ability to work in the future. This reduced the risk of the defendant being able to rely upon its own medical evidence and in the event, the Court did not grant the defendant such permission.
Further complications arose from the client’s employer who tried to allege it was able to recover from sick pay paid to him despite there being no contractual basis for this allegation. This attempt to pursue the client for these monies was opposed and the employer withdrew their attempt.
Impact: As a consequence of his injury, the client was unable to continue working as an HGV driver and was made redundant on capability grounds.
His symptoms worsened after his surgery and he fell into the 15% of patients who are the same or worse following surgical intervention. In regard to his daily living activities, the client can no longer hold a knife and fork in each hand and he is unable to carry a tray or pour from a kettle into a mug held in each hand.
The client has had injections in an effort to alleviate his symptoms and he now wears a splint. Furthermore, he can no longer enjoy leisure activities he previously enjoyed such as golf and go-karting.
Decision: The defendant's first offer was £33,000 pre-proceedings. Slater and Gordon successfully negotiated settlement at £120,000 after proceedings, several months before trial.
The settlement value equated to settlement on a full liability basis despite the defendant maintaining an allegation of contributory negligence.
The settlement gave peace of mind to the client and his family and enabled him to move on and concentrate efforts on retraining for a new career.
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