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Case Study: Eye Injuries from Firework Debris
Ms C Received £23,000 Compensation
A woman has received £23,000 compensation after she suffered eye injuries from firework debris.
Ms C sustained damage to her right eye after attending a fireworks display at her local pub. Debris from one of the fireworks landed in Ms C's eye, causing multiple injuries and permanent damage. Initially Ms C, a Purchasing/Production Manager, visited her local Accident and Emergency room, and went to a specialist eye unit the following day, where she was diagnosed with probable retina damage.
Ms C decided to place a claim against the pub for her injuries, and was put in touch with JMW Solicitors LLP.
We began a claim on behalf of Ms C against the pub, under the terms of occupier’s liability. The pub passed our claim onto their insurers, who admitted responsibility for the accident.
To have a full picture of Ms C’s injuries, and determine how much compensation we should seek on her behalf, we instructed a Consultant Ophthalmologist to assess her. The consultant confirmed that Ms C had had a blurred right eye for eight months after the accident. The tests he carried out confirmed that there was a reduction in Ms C’s vision, which remained blurred. He also confirmed that Ms C had long term residual, permanent scarring and damage to her right macula, an oval-shaped yellow spot near the centre of the retina, containing a large number of cells responsible for central, high-resolution vision.
The medical expert also identified a change in pupil size (causing Ms C a cosmetic problem), an issue with lens opacity which may lead to the development of a cataract that would require surgery, and a 10-20% chance that the scarring and distortion in Ms C’s eye would increase again, leading to a further decrease in vision.
Establishing the case's value
We used the medical expert’s findings to put together an estimate of what Ms C’s future losses may be as a result of the serious injuries. This included an estimate as to how her job prospects may be affected because of a loss of vision, the chances she may have to have eye surgery and reasonable expenses for glasses, which Ms C had to wear as a result of the accident. We then combined this information with the details Ms C had provided about the expenses she had incurred as a result of seeking treatment for the accident (such as travel to the hospital, prescriptions and eye tests) to come up with a schedule of loss.
Along with pre-established guidelines for eye injuries, the schedule of loss helped us to arrive at a reasonable estimate for what we should seek as compensation on Ms C’s behalf.
Given the nature of the injuries, we discussed our assessment of the case, along with the schedule of loss, with a Barrister, to ensure that the figure was realistic. After discussing the compensation assessment with Ms C, it was decided to try and settle her claim without issuing court proceedings against the pub. In order to invite a settlement offer from the pub’s insurers, we disclosed Ms C’s medical report and her schedule of loss to them, to encourage them to make an offer of compensation.
Negotiating an appropriate settlement
The insurers made a very low offer, which we advised Ms C to reject. Ms C took our advice, and authorised her to enter into negotiation on the case, to see if she could achieve a higher settlement offer. The insurers refused to increase their offer, so after discussing the matter carefully with both the Barrister and Ms C, taking their advice into account and taking final instructions from Ms C, we issued court proceedings against the pub and its insurers.
The insurers appointed a solicitor to deal with the matter. The solicitor then made a slightly increased offer, which was quickly rejected as we advised Ms C that this was still too low for what she realistically deserved. After some discussion with their client, the pub’s solicitors made a third offer. This was getting closer to what we felt Ms C was entitled to, but was still low. We put the offer to Ms C and advised that the increased offer be rejected, as she could still seek a higher one. Ms C consented to us negotiating further on her behalf, and after some firm discussions, the pub’s solicitors increased their offer again. This fourth offer was finally in the region we had estimated Ms C’s compensation claim to be in, and so she was advised to accept it. Ms C felt the offer was very good and was delighted to accept our advice, and the increased offer.
Ms C commended our efforts, sending an e-mail with the following comments:
"I would just like to thank you for all your hard work in getting me a happy result. I know it's your job, but I appreciate it was potentially a tricky one to tackle, I didn't find any other Solicitors prepared to take the challenge!"