Case Study: Serious Multiple Fractures Due To Trip While Working at Care Home

Mrs R Received £82,500

A woman , with JMW's help, has received £82,500 compensation after suffering serious multiple fractures due to a trip while working at a care home.

The claim

Mrs R was working as a carer in a residential care home.  Whilst carrying a laundry basket, Mrs R fell over an internal, uneven lip between two rooms, and water that had been allowed to gather on the floor, landing on her right-hand side and suffering a proximal humeral fracture to her right arm and shoulder. She decided to make a claim and was referred to JMW Solicitors where Jason Harwood, Partner, dealt with her case. 

The case

Jason sent a letter of claim to Mrs R’s employers, the defendant in the case, informing them of her decision to claim, and asking them to forward on the letter to their legal representatives to deal with on their behalf.  Jason asked them to confirm whether or not they would accept responsibility for Mrs R’s injuries. 

Eventually, the defendant’s solicitor responded saying that they denied responsibility as the floor was not wet, and they claimed Mrs R admitted she’d filled up the washing up basket too much and was ‘stupid’ for doing so, as it caused her to trip.  Mrs R claimed this was entirely false. 

Obtaining evidence

Jason requested copies of documentation regarding Mrs R’s accident, such as the accident book, and a statement from the owner of the care home, from the defendant’s solicitor.  He also arranged for Mrs R to provide a witness statement, which outlined the accident circumstances, her injury, and the effect it had on her life. Jason noted that the area in which the accident happened had since been turned into an office and requested before/after photos and construction plans from the defendant’s solicitor. 

Jason also asked Mrs R to verify some information regarding when she’d filled in the accident book and who had been present, as her account and that of the defendant’s, differed. 

Medical requirements

Although Mrs R had initially received treatment following her accident, 10 months on, her doctor highlighted that the fractures were still not healing and she therefore required an operation which would see her undergo open reduction and internal fixation.  She was also put on a course of physiotherapy to help her recover. 

Meanwhile, Jason received some further allegations from the defendant’s representatives, claiming that Mrs R, rather than being unable to work as she had told us, had taken on a job at a supermarket.  Mrs R denied these allegations and told Jason that she was not sure she would ever be able to return to the sort of work she used to do at the care home.  The defendant’s representatives also alleged that Mrs R had complained in writing about undertaking the laundry whenever she was working at the care home, and that the ‘lip’ she tripped on was actually a step of 16.5 centimetres, both of which Mrs R denied. 

At this stage, Jason decided to engage a barrister to advise on the prospects of success the case had, as there were a number of allegations the defendant’s representatives were making that were contrary to the information Mrs R had provided us with. 

After holding a conference with the barrister, he agreed that Mrs R’s case had a good chance of being successful, however we would need to ensure that the evidence was as comprehensive as possible.  We approached Mrs R’s sister, who had assisted her after the accident, to provide us with a witness statement, and arranged for Mrs R to see an independent consultant orthopaedic surgeon to provide an independent medical report. 

Return to work

At this stage, Mrs R advised us that, some 18 months after her accident, she had recovered from her injuries sufficiently to return to work as a domestic assistant at a care home, but that she would not be able to be a care assistant again as the role was too physically demanding.  Mrs R continued to be in pain and had a limited range of movement in her shoulder. 

The independent medical report confirmed Mrs R hadn’t made a full recovery from her injury and would continue to suffer ongoing pain and have a restricted range of movement.  The independent consultant orthopaedic surgeon also requested that Mrs R undergo an x-ray to finalise his opinion.  On seeing the x-ray, he confirmed that the injury was a direct result of the accident and that Mrs R’s current symptoms would not improve.  He also confirmed that the accident had affected her capacity for work.   

We had another meeting with our barrister, in light of the additional evidence. 

Our barrister felt happy with the level of evidence we’d built up and put together two documents; a particulars of claim and a schedule of loss, which summarised Mrs R’s claim and highlighted how much compensation we were seeking on her behalf.  Jason then emailed the defendant’s solicitor, advising them to make a reasonable offer to settle the case or we would start Court proceedings. 

The defendant’s solicitor maintained their denial of liability and we were forced to start Court proceedings.  The case was listed for a case management conference before a district Judge.  As a result of this conference, dates for a potential trial and exchange of evidence were arranged.  The Judge also agreed that the defendant’s solicitor would be able to get their own independent medical expert to examine Mrs R, and that both medical experts would have to provide a joint statement to the Court. 

Final evidence

It was arranged for Mrs R to visit the defendant’s independent medical expert, although meanwhile, their solicitor also made an offer to agree responsibility for the case, on a 50%/50% basis, which, if Mrs R accepted, would mean she would be admitting she was 50% responsible for the accident that caused her injury, and would accept 50% of the total agreed compensation award.  Jason negotiated an increase on this to 70%/30% in Mrs R’s favour. 

After receiving their medical report, the defendant’s solicitor noted that the independent medical expert they had hired to examine Mrs R agreed with our medical expert.  As a result, the defendant’s solicitor made an offer to settle the case.  We felt the offer was good, however Mrs R was entitled to more. Jason entered into further negotiations with the defendant’s solicitor and was ultimately able to agree a settlement of £82,500.  Mrs R was delighted with this settlement and the work Jason had been able to do on her behalf.  

Have you also been injured at work?

if you feel that the accident was caused by negligence on the part of your employer or another employee, call us on 0800 054 6570 or fill in our contact form to talk through the incident. We can advise you on whether you are able to make a claim.

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