Case Study: Fracture to Foot in Fall on Shop Steps

A woman received £7,000 compensation after she fell outside a shop and suffered a right foot fracture 

As Mrs H, a pensioner, exited the shop, she caught her right foot in a crack in one of the shop’s steps.  She then put her left foot down in an area between the step of the shop and a gully on the pavement.  The gully was uneven, sending her off balance and when she put her right foot down in the same place, it caused her to twist round and begin to fall, which she was able to break by grabbing hold of a passer by who was going into the shop. 

She felt immediate pain in her right ankle and went to her GP, who advised her to attend hospital to have the area X-Rayed.  The X-Ray showed that Mrs H had sustained a fracture to the fifth metatarsal on her right foot and she was put in a plaster cast and given crutches to help her move. 

Mrs H decided to make a claim for compensation for her injuries and was put in contact with JMW Solicitors LLP. 

Putting the case together

We started putting a case together for Mrs H, and initially contacted the council responsible for maintaining the pavement, however after mutual investigation, it was agreed that Mrs H’s accident had taken place within the boundary of the shop, and so we re-directed our claim to the shop’s insurers. 

Because of her injury, Mrs H suffered extreme discomfort and change to her lifestyle.  She was rendered housebound for the first four weeks after her accident, relying on her husband for assistance for every element of her daily life.  She made use of the crutches and a wooden soled sandal she had been given.  This continued for six to seven weeks until she had recovered enough to carry out daily activities without this level of aid. 

Mrs H also held a part time job as an in-store shopper for a supermarket which was helping to support her and her husband during the early stage of their retirement and she had to take time off work until her injury became better.  Seven weeks after the accident, Mrs H was able to do more things for herself, however, she still required assistance from her husband.  Mrs H also visited a chiropodist, who noted that there was additional damage to the cuboid bone indicating a possible fracture or dislocation. 

Insurers admit fault

The shop’s insurers admitted that Mrs H’s accident was their fault, and we arranged for Mrs H to attend a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in foot and ankle injuries, to assess how she could be rehabilitated and help her reclaim certain aspects of her social life, including walking (which she struggled to do, particularly on uneven ground), dancing and driving (which she couldn’t manage for journeys of more than ten minutes).  This was the source of some emotional distress for Mrs H and it was important that this was addressed and Mrs H regain as much of her life prior to the accident as possible. 

Assessing compensation

We also arranged for Mrs H to see a separate Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon to assess the level of compensation Mrs H could reasonably expect as a result of her injury and the effect it had on her life.  As Mrs H’s recovery period had been longer than first anticipated, this medical expert suggested an MRI scan be performed to confirm exactly what her injuries had been.  The MRI scan showed that Mrs H had suffered a split tear down the middle of a tendon in her foot near her ankle that connected to the fifth metatarsal, in addition to the fracture, which had been causing her pain and problems walking.  It also showed two other metatarsals and a cuboid bone had been broken.  He suggested a course of physiotherapy, so that some of the mobility in Mrs H’s foot could be restored.  It was our medical expert’s opinion that the injury had exacerbated some natural degeneration in her foot (which was in very early stages).  Mrs H was also walking with a crutch during her recovery period, and it was noted that this was aggravating a pre-existing sciatica condition. 

Long term effects on Mrs H

Effectively, Mrs H would not fully recover from the accident and would have to experience some discomfort from her foot for the rest of her life, so we had to account for that in our claim for compensation.  As a result of the accident, Mrs H also found that continuing to work part time was too much for her, as she was in a great deal of pain at the end of her shifts, and had to end her working life earlier than planned. 

After being made fully aware of Mrs H’s medical position, we were able to enter discussions to arrange an appropriate sum of compensation for Mrs H with the shop’s insurers.  The insurers initially provided us with an offer that was well below our expectations and what the medical evidence we had gathered suggested we should be seeking.  However, as we had been able to gather a great deal of information on Mrs H’s case, we were able to negotiate a better offer for Mrs H from a strong position. 


We were finally able to settle her case for £7,000.  Mrs H was delighted with the offer and with our team’s work on her case.  She has since recommended us to a friend, and we have been happy to carry on the work for her friend and live up to the praise she has given us. 

Have you also been injured in a slip in a public place?

For some free no obligation advice, call us on 0800 054 6570 or fill in our contact form. We will talk through what happened and let you know if you have a case. 

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