Case Study: Trip Over a Barrier at Work Causing a Hand Injury

Mrs B Was Awarded £18,646.14

JMW has helped a woman acquire an £18,646.14  after she tripped over a barrier whilst working in a care home.

Mrs T, a care assistant, was walking through a doorway at work with both hands full.  The doorway was next to a staircase with a stair lift, which had an extension arm to aid residents using the lift.  The arm was blocking the doorway and Mrs T fell over it, cutting the area of her hand in between her right thumb and forefinger, leading to a loss of feeling of the thumb.  She decided to make a claim and was put in touch with JMW Solicitors, where Jason Harwood, Partner, handled her case. 

The case

Jason wrote a letter of claim to Mrs T’s employers at the care home, the defendants in the case, advising them of Mrs T’s intent to claim.  They passed the letter to their insurer. 

The defendant’s insurer responded, suggesting that Mrs T should accept 50% of the responsibility for her accident, so her total claim amount should be reduced by 50%.  Jason advised that Mrs T should not accept this level of responsibility for her accident, and should reject this offer, which she did. 

Medical diagnosis

Mrs T’s treating hand surgeon confirmed that Mrs T had developed a neuroma in her hand; a growth or benign tumour.  It was recommended that she underwent an ultrasound scan and a steroid injection of the thumb.  Although usually at this stage, Jason would get an independent medical report to add to Mrs T’s evidence, he waited until she had finished her course of treatment with her current hand surgeon. 

From the information Mrs T was giving him, it appeared as though the management at Mrs T’s workplace were trying to make her life difficult and put her off making a claim.  This sort of behaviour was not fair or appropriate and Jason wanted to have as much information as possible on file about this turn of events in order to support Mrs T’s case. 

Jason also tried to negotiate with the defendant’s insurer that Mrs T would only accept 20% of the responsibility of her accident, meaning that she would receive 80% of the total compensation amount.  This was rejected by the defendant’s insurer, who argued that she willingly placed herself in a position where harm might result, so she should not be allowed to make a claim.  Jason strongly disagreed with this, and he sought the advice of a barrister to consider the next steps on the claim. 

Thumb surgery

Unfortunately for Mrs T, the steroid injection did not work and her hand surgeon recommended surgery to remove the nerves from her thumb.  Mrs T was then recommended a second operation, in order to restore some movement in her thumb, however post-operation, her thumb was still very sore and stiff. 

With Mrs T’s treatment complete, now was the right time for Jason to get an independent medical consultant to provide a medical report on her case.  He also got a witness statement from Mrs T, detailing everything she had been through as a result of her accident. 

The defendant’s insurer then made an offer to settle the case.  Jason strongly advised Mrs T against accepting this; there was no medical evidence on the case, so no way to know what an accurate valuation of her claim should be.  This offer didn’t take into account Mrs T’s ongoing difficulties and Mrs T agreed to reject the offer. 

Medical consultant

The independent medical consultant said that although Mrs T would be left with some permanent pain sensations, there were a couple of possible courses of action that could be undertaken to lessen the pain; there was a possibility another surgery could work, or that cryotherapy ablation (exposure of the area to extreme cold) may work.  The consultant was clear that, whatever route Mrs T chose, she was going to be permanently handicapped.  

At this stage, Jason needed to issue court proceedings on Mrs T’s case, as it was approaching the time where legally, it was required that her case either be settled, or in the court process. 

The defendant’s solicitor then made an offer to settle the case.  Again, Jason felt this was low, and advised Mrs T to reject the offer, and make a counter offer, which was rejected.  The defendant’s solicitor denied responsibility for Mrs T’s accident; contradicting the defendant’s previous statements.  The court would have the final say as to whether or not the defendant’s solicitor’s change of heart was acceptable. 


Mrs T then told Jason that she and two colleagues had been dismissed from their positions because of alleged gross misconduct.  From the information we gathered, Mrs T and her colleagues were innocent and appeared to be pushed out due to Mrs T’s former employer’s unhappiness at having to deal with her claim.  Added to this, the defendant’s solicitor’s application to deny responsibility for Mrs T’s accident was accepted by the court.  Jason and the barrister decided to have a conference with Mrs T, to discuss the next steps on her case. 

Both Jason and the barrister were very satisfied after talking with Mrs T, and felt that the case would be successful.  Although Mrs T’s appeal against her dismissal was lost, ACAS got involved and Mrs T’s former employers then withdrew the claim.  Mrs T was also able to get a new job as a community carer. 

Final Settlement

Jason then had another offer from the defendant’s solicitor which, although increased from the previous offer, he felt was still on the low side.  This drew Jason into a negotiation process on Mrs T’s behalf.  Ultimately, the defendant’s solicitor made an offer that Mrs T was happy to accept.  She was very happy with the work Jason had done for her on the case, saying: “I received detailed and comprehensive advice and support throughout the time that my claim was being managed by JMW.”  

Have you had an accident at work?

If you have, and would like to see if you are eligible to make a claim, our personal injury team can help you. We will provide you with tailored advice based on your circumstances. Call us today on 0800 054 6570 or complete our online contact form.

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