Victim of exploding coffee machine awarded £180,000

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Pamela Hyslop, operations manager at a restaurant and bar, was cleaning a coffee machine when it malfunctioned and exploded – causing a mug shard to become embedded in her wrist.

The incident left her with life-long injuries that impacted on her ability to work. She now no longer works for the company following the accident.

She said: “They tried to make my role redundant after the accident happened. I felt like an idiot, working a million hours a week to help them build a successful company only for them to try and discard me once they felt I wasn’t useful to them anymore – there was no loyalty.

“It was a real kick in the teeth and I was very angry at what they put me through.”

Coping with pain, recovery and the compensation claim process

The incident left Pamela with little or no feeling in much of her hand, along with extreme sensitivity and agonising pain in other parts. This meant she couldn’t drive or work, which left her unable to pay the bills and fearful of the future. Her emotional state also suffered as she was tearful, frustrated and in agonising pain for 15-hours each day, only getting respite when she slept.

Pamela said: “It turned my life upside-down – I went from being on a good salary to nothing.

“I had so much anger at my boss that there was no way I was giving up.”

That’s when she turned to Digby Brown Solicitors where David Nellaney, Partner at Digby Brown’s Glasgow office, investigated the circumstances of the accident and the impact of Pamela’s injury now and in the future.

He obtained expert reports that proved the severity of Pamela’s injuries meant she was medically classed as 32% disabled.

With this information, we then approached employment and pension experts to work out the long term health and financial impacts of the incident.

Further analysis of witness statements, CCTV footage, Health and Safety Executive reports and an engineering report of the coffee machine all helped strengthen Pamela’s case.

Securing settlement – and the future

Pamela’s employers did not admit liability for the accident and refused to deal with her injury claim. Using our funding package, David was able to raise the case in court to secure fair settlement.

Pamela’s employer then made an offer of £85,000 which was rejected.

The case proceeded to a Pre-Trial Meeting when Pamela’s employers made further offers of £115,000 and £150,000 which were both rejected. They then came forward with an increased offer and the case settled at £180,000 – almost £100,000 more than the original offer.

This also meant there was no need for Pamela to go through the stress of a court hearing.

She said: “David was brilliant, he was very calm and provided lots of contact. He was also very tolerant of me when I was angry with the other side but he always calmed me down and explained everything all the way through.

“His advice was brilliant – there was a big part of me that wanted to give up but he helped keep me going and I trusted him to do right by me.

“I would tell anyone to stick with it, it’s so worth it. To have David and Digby Brown helping – they were a great support and they ensure you get some form of justice. The compensation was really important in helping me get closure.

“Trust the firm – you will see they are very professional and helpful and although they must deal with people from all walks of life they treat you as an individual and speak to you on your level.

“I couldn’t rate them any higher.”

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