Accident at work claim settles for £25,000 more than employer was originally offering securing a seriously injured employee £122,000
Employers are often quick to admit responsibility for injuries caused by an accident at work but slow to agree appropriate compensation. This can be incredibly tough for affected employees trying to focus on recovery while also dealing with a drop in income were they are not immediately able to return to work.
There are steps that can be taken to make things easier and to ensure your claim is resolved swiftly. However, it takes an experienced lawyer to use these steps to maximum effect as shown in a recent case handled by one of our accident at work claims specialists, Anna Rushton.
Details of the Case
Our client was a 40 year old male road technician who was injured when a storm drain he was repairing slipped from an excavator and crushed his left wrist causing his scaphoid bone to shatter. Attempts to repair the injury had failed leaving him in constant pain, with a significantly weakened grip and severely restricted range of motion, experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome and suffering from accident-induced depression and difficulty in sleeping.
He had been without any income since the accident happened and had spent what little savings he had trying to keep his head above water.
The severity of his injuries made it impossible for him to return to his previous job or to secure other work of a similar but less strenuous type. He had also had to give up playing the guitar because he could no longer move his fingers properly and found it difficult to drive or do simple tasks like household chores and gardening.
The Employer’s Position
The employer admitted at an early stage that they were responsible for the accident and that some form of compensation would therefore have to be paid. Fortunately Anna was experienced enough to know that she could use this as leverage to gain an immediate payment on account of the money the client would eventually receive to tide him over while his claim was being assessed. She was also able to persuade the employer to cover the cost of a private operation and some physiotherapy.
After considering witness statements and medical evidence obtained by us in support of the client’s claim, the employer’s insurer initially suggested a settlement sum of £97,000. This was on the basis that:
- nobody could be sure what had caused the accident and whether anything the client had done may have contributed to it occurring; and
- x-rays taken of the client’s left wrist suggested he may have suffered a previous injury to his scaphoid bone which the current accident had merely exacerbated.
Although the insurer’s initial offer was welcome, it seemed a little on the low side to us given that:
- the client was highly trained and experienced in what he did and was therefore very unlikely to have done anything to bring the accident on himself; and
- the client had no knowledge of an earlier injury having been suffered to his left wrist and certainly if a prior injury existed it had not been causing him any difficulties until the current accident occurred.
In view of this we suggested to our client that the insurer’s offer should be rejected and a counteroffer made by us at around £122,000.00.
Putting pressure on the employer and insurer to accept
To force the employer and their insurer to think carefully about our offer, it was made using a special procedure which would have meant that had it been refused – and had we gone on to take the matter to court and been successful in recovering a sum equal to or in excess of the offered amount – the insurer would have been subject to severe financial penalties as a result of their unreasonable refusal to settle when they had the chance to. This is known as a Part 36 offer.
Ultimate outcome of the case
By sticking to our guns and using the Part 36 procedure wisely we were ultimately able to persuade the employer and their insurer to accept our offer and pay the client the sum of £122,798.74. This was made up of £15,000 for the client’s pain and suffering and £107,798.77 for his out of pocket expenses, past and future loss of earnings and other financial costs.
Needless to say both Anna and the client were delighted, particularly as the case was settled without the need to go before a judge for final determination.
The lawyer acting for the employer and insurer was pleased as well and commented on how Anna’s professionalism and constructive approach made a huge difference to the view they took, the eventual settlement terms agreed and the speed at which the matter was ultimately concluded.
If you have suffered an accident at work and would like the assistance of a member of our specialist personal injury team, then please call us now on 0800 1956412 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can also help if you or a loved one are suffering from a work related industrial disease, including vibration white finger or asbestos induced mesothelioma.