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Case Study: Chemical Burns to Right Ankle and Foot Suffered at Work
Mr B Was Awarded £72,250
Mr B was at work and was asked to fix a shelf in his shop’s store room which collapsed as he was fixing it. It caused a bottle of 70% sulphuric acid drain cleaner to fall and the contents to tip over Mr B’s right lower leg. He sustained chemical burns to the right ankle and foot which caused him considerable pain, numbness and scarring.
Mr B decided to make a claim for his injuries and was put in touch with JMW Solicitors where Jason Harwood, Partner, handled his case.
A letter of claim was sent to the defendant, outlining Mr B’s accident and his injuries. They passed it on to their claims company, who admitted liability.
We obtained his medical records and noted Mr B had already undergone a number of skin grafts to his leg to treat his burns, and had been prescribed painkillers. We arranged for him to be examined by an independent medical expert who provided a prognosis for his injuries, recovery and the impact his injuries had on his life.
Mr B’s claim was also approaching the three year period by which personal injury claims must either be settled or in the Court process. Jason issued Court proceedings in order to protect the case. The defendant passed the claim to a solicitor and the Court process was stayed to allow Mr B time to undergo surgery and recovery.
Treatment and recovery
The medical expert confirmed Mr B would require further reconstructive surgery as he had been struggling to work after the accident; every time he attempted to work, his wounds were cracking and bleeding.
Jason was able to secure interim payments for Mr B to undergo private treatment and ensure he was financially supported during the time off he had to take to recover. He had multiple surgical procedures which should have culminated in a final procedure to thin the antero-lateral thigh flap on his right ankle, together with an excision of excess skin.
However Mr B broke his right ankle following a trip and required additional surgery. His ongoing symptoms, which included lack of sensation, pain and an affected gait, were thought to have contributed to his fall.
Evidence to support the claim
Jason gathered evidence to support Mr B’s claim, including a schedule of loss, outlining the quantifiable losses Mr B had suffered as a result of his accident, and a witness statement from Mr B, highlighting the accident in his own words and the effect his injuries had on his life. Jason provided the defendant’s solicitor with copies of these documents as part of the Court process.
A case management hearing was held with a Deputy District Judge, which enabled Jason and the defendant’s solicitor to agree a schedule for when final witness and medical evidence was to be prepared by, and the window of time for when a trial would take place.
Proposing an offer to settle Mr B’s claim was considered after the hearing. However, this was decided against as one of the key issues in the case was becoming Mr B’s ability to work and his future career. Mr B had been unable to work a full week since his accident, however, were it not for the accident it was likely Mr B would have held a managerial post or pursued an alternative, more profitable, career.
Reaching a settlement
On the lead up to the next case management conference, Jason ensured final medical evidence and an amended schedule of loss, highlighting Mr B’s employment situation, were prepared. The defendant’s solicitor presented witness evidence and also requested the trial date be moved to allow them further time to prepare for the case.
On the morning of the conference, after rigorous negotiation, Jason was able to settle Mr B’s claim for the total sum of £72,500, including a provision for £40,000 for future loss of earnings.
Have you suffered injuries at work?
If you have suffered an injury for any reason in the workplace and want to see if you are eligible to make a claim, call our personal injury team today on 0800 054 6570 or complete our online contact form.