Compensate Funding central to resolution of complex case

Blue piggy bank with coins going in

Mr H had only been employed by the defenders for less than 7 days. This was his first return to engineering employment after a career break of about 10 years.

Whilst carrying out a repair to a metal cutting tool which weighed approximately 1 tonne, part of the tool fell a distance of approximately 4 metres and landed on the pursuer trapping him in a small space between the cutting edge and the ground. The pursuer was in fear for his life.

Initial x-rays revealed no fractures and he was thought to have suffered a soft tissue injury only. He was encouraged to return to work  and he did so, almost immediately. Six months later he was diagnosed as having suffered compression fractures to the spine. His physical condition failed to improve and at that point, he suffered a rapid deterioration in his psychological condition. He stopped working and was subsequently made redundant and has not worked since.   

A pre-litigation offer of £150,000  was made to the referring agents.This was unacceptable to the Pursuer who was holding out for a settlement in the region of £200,000.  Mr H needed to litigate to secure a better offer and at this point the referring agents turned to the Compensate Personal Injury Network for the support of Compensate funding.  

Despite the pre-litigation offer of settlement, once proceedings were raised, the defenders denied liability.  They maintained this denial up until the pre-trial meeting. In addition, the defenders obtained their own contradictory medical evidence which suggested the pursuer had sustained nothing other than a minor spinal injury from which he had fully recovered and a mild form of PTSD which would resolve within 6 months.  

Compensate funding allowed us to obtain reports from various medical and other experts. Reports obtained for the pursuer during the litigation process included 3 reports from a Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon; 3 reports from a Consultant Psychiatrist; 1 report from a Consultant Neurologist; 2 reports from the treating Consultant Psychologist; 1 report from a Consultant in Accident & Emergency Medicine (to consider the issue of possible medical negligence by the Accident & Emergency Department); 1 report from an Employment & Vocational Consultant; a report from a Consultant Actuary; and a report from a Consultant Forensic Engineer.

Finally, in view of the conflict of evidence, and in view of the extremely unusual nature of the spinal injury we obtained 2 reports and a precognition and adduced evidence from the Head of the National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow.  

At the Pre-Trial Meeting fortified by their own orthopaedic and psychiatric reports, the defenders put forward an offer of £140,000 net of CRU. This sum was then tendered by them a few days later.  The tender was rejected out of hand.  

The case proceeded to Proof over the course of 8 days. Further tenders were received from the defenders and rejected. This included their final and fourth tender received after the first 4 days of evidence in the sum of £390,000, a sum almost double what the Pursuer had been looking for. 

The defenders Solicitor Advocate who ran the Proof proved to be no match for the pursuer's Junior and Senior Counsel. Such was the quality of the expert medical evidence and vocational evidence led on behalf of the pursuer that the defenders medical and employment experts were systematically dismantled in cross-examination. As the proof progressed, the pursuer’s case grew stronger and stronger.

Lord Glennie delivered his opinion in July 2013 finding in favour of the pursuer in all material respects. Total damages discerned in favour of the pursuer was finally agreed for a sum of just under £550,000.

Fraser Simpson, the Partner responsible for the case commented, “It was only the security of the protection against adverse legal costs the Compensate funding arrangent provided that allowed the pursuer to reject all 4 tenders and to make progress with the case.  This excellent result, for both the referring agent and their client could not have been achieved without such protection”.