Settlement 2x Insurer offer after Industrial Accident in the Scottish Borders

Farmyard and fields

Digby Brown represented a man injured in an industrial accident in the Scottish Borders. 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.