Case study: joint personal injury claim after accident on building site
AL and MD were working as bricklayers on a building site when they fell through a temporary floor and suffered significant injuries.
The Claimants were working on the first floor level of a partially built building. The floor had been laid with a temporary platform covering the hole where the stairs were to be fitted. As AL and MD and another colleague walked over that platform it suddenly gave way beneath them causing them to fall to the ground below and suffer significant injuries.
It is understood that the platform had been inadequately constructed and was not properly supported. Insufficient joist hangers had been used and only one screw instead of three had been used per hanger.
In the accident, AL suffered an undisplaced fracture to his sternum and bilateral ankle fractures which required surgery and pins.
MD sustained a burst fracture to his lumbar spine which required intensive treatment and surgery. He also had a temporary loss of sensation and weakness in his legs, which returned after a few weeks. He required seven months off of work.
Starting the workplace injury claim
Our personal injury solicitors met with the Claimants to go through the details of the accident at work and the funding agreement (a Conditional Fee Agreement) that we could offer.
A challenge we came across was establishing who the correct Defendant was to pursue. Our clients were working as contractors on the building site, and so rather than pursuing their employer, we determined that the claim should be made against the principal site contractor as they were responsible for the building site’s health and safety.
We sent Letters of Claim to the main contractors of the site, putting forward that they failed to ensure that the platform was safe and secure, and giving them three months to investigate it. In the meantime, our solicitors obtained copies of AL and MD’s medical records.
The Defendant’s insurers admitted liability for the accident and made Part 36 offers for both clients: £30,000 for AL and £39,000 for MD. However, as our solicitors had not yet received medical evidence to be able to value the claim, we advised both Claimants to reject the offers. We were reasonably confident that we could obtain a higher amount of compensation on receipt of medical evidence.
Obtaining medical records to support the claim
Our personal injury team instructed a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for AL and a Spinal Surgeon for MD. The experts arranged to examine the Claimants, review their medical records and prepare a medical report on the claim.
Due to his injuries, AL had to live downstairs and relied heavily on the help of his family. He gradually began to return to work around six months after the accident. In his medical report, the Orthopaedic Surgeon supported this and considered him to be disabled and disadvantaged for four months.
With AL’s fractured sternum, he only had mild symptoms which the Consultant expected would settle within a couple of years. However, the effects of AL’s foot injuries were more serious. The consultant recommended further X-rays which revealed that, although the fractures had now healed, AL may need surgery in the future to remove the metalwork. As a result of this, the report cautioned that, although he could now carry on with his current work, he may be at a disadvantage in the open labour market should he look for work elsewhere in the future. The Consultant suggested that he would be better off in a role that did not involve work on uneven ground as his current occupation increases the risk of him developing complications in the long term.
MD’s medical report recommended physiotherapy and a Psychologist report. The Psychologist confirmed MD fulfilled the criteria for PTSD and recommended a course of trauma-focused treatment, which he had.
Our personal injury solicitors obtained details of AL and MD’s financial losses and calculated their loss of earnings after the accident. We also considered potential future losses of AL should he need to undergo more surgery. We then sent the details of these losses along with the medical reports to the Defendant’s insurers.
After a couple of counter offers, the claims settled for £68,000 (AL) and £60,000 (MD).
Contact our workplace injury solicitors
Workplace injuries can be life-changing and affect your ability to work, causing financial difficulties as a result.
Our workplace accident solicitors work with clients all over the UK from our six offices across Bristol and the surrounding area.