Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Settlement 2x Insurer offer after Industrial Accident in the Scottish Borders
Digby Brown represented a man injured in an industrial accident in the Scottish Borders in June 2011. Our client was at work fertilising a field, using a new John Deere tractor to do so. The field was particularly steep. The tractor veered across to the left unexpectedly, toppling over, downhill a number of times, causing the our client to sustain a serious fracture to his spine together with an equally serious fracture to his ankle.
This individual sought our assistance to bring a potential claim against his employer. The case was made difficult by neither the tractor, which had been disposed of by the defenders, nor the satellite navigation box which showed the tracking for the tractor, which was destroyed in a fire, being available as evidence.
Digby Brown made a claim on our client’s behalf under the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 together with a common law argument that the employers had failed to instigate and maintain a safe system of work. The central argument was that the field was far too steep and should not have been fertilised in the way that the pursuer was instructed to do so.
We able to fully prepare our clients’ case, obtaining Orthopaedic Reports, a Care Report and Employment Reports to allow us to properly value his claim.
Liability was admitted by the insurers for the farm and an offer of £45,000 was made just after court proceedings were raised. We took the view that this was not a fair offer given the serious injuries our client had suffered and medical evidence that he was likely to be forced to retire at 60 rather than 65. We pressed ahead with legal proceeding and no further offers were made by the defenders.
Very late in the case, the defender insurers sought to introduce an argument of contributory negligence that the accident was, in effect, caused by the fault of the pursuer in order to destabilise his case. We rebutted this strongly and settled the case at the Pre-Trial Meeting we settled the case for a six-figure sum, over double what the insurers had offered just after proceedings were raised.
This case highlights the huge value to our clients of our ability to fully investigate and fund cases. It was the wide range of reports and evidence that we obtained that allowed us to reject what, at first glance, appeared a attractive offer, and eventually settle for over double the original offer.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Catalogue of clinical errors forced patient to undergo amputation
Mr D had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs balloons in size) and was discharged home after a week.
The next day, Mr D began to experience increased pain in his abdomen and vomiting. He was taken by ambulance to Queen Margaret Hospital. On admission, Mr D was dehydrated, acidotic (too much acid in the blood) and had reduced blood pressure. He was cared for overnight by the on call surgical team which comprised nurses and junior medical staff. No referral was made for a senior opinion. A catheter was inserted to drain urine, however nothing was produced. No action was taken to investigate this. He was prescribed an anticoagulant to try and prevent blood clotting, however this was not administered. TED stockings were put on the pursuer’s legs by nursing staff without checking for signs of ischaemia. The pursuer’s condition and vital signs were not adequately observed or monitored during the night.
By the time Mr D was seen by his consultant the following morning, he was in a critical condition. He had developed a severe lack of blood in the left lower limb. He had to be rehydrated prior to surgery and required a graft from his right to his left femoral artery in order to restore blood flow. Unfortunately by this stage, the muscles in his left leg were irreversibly damaged and an above knee amputation was needed in order to save Mr D’s life.
Mr D had been fit and active prior to the loss of his leg and his lifestyle was hugely affected. He suffered discomfort from his prosthesis and frustration at the restrictions his loss of limb placed on him at home and elsewhere. Digby Brown were able to assist Mr D by providing funding for his claim and pursuing his clinical negligence action in court. Mr D was successful in settling his case for a substantial six figure sum in settlement.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Compensation achieved for client in complex accident at work case
This complicated case involved a client who was employed as an HGV driver, specifically bin lorries. He sustained a crush injury to his left index finger in summer 2009 because of a a faulty bin lid on one of the lorries.
Despite our attempts to discuss the case with his employers, as the defenders, we reviced no response to numerous communications. The case was complicated further when, after the accident, our client’s employment was transferred to a differently named company who in turn sold their business and assests to a third firm.
The pursuer's employment was transfered to this third firm under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (known as TUPE). This firm's position was that they had purchased the assets and not the liabilities of the second firm. We eventually tracked down an insurer for the orginal employer after considerable work.
We raised proceedings against both the orginal employers' and the new company who had taken on our client’s employment. The case settled for £6,000, achieving fair compensation for our client in difficult and complicated cirumstances.