Woman injured falling down manhole told by another law firm we can't help

Man Hole Cover

Mrs Hughes came to Digby Brown after another Scottish law firm were unable to help her after she was injured falling down a manhole at work.

How did the accident happen?

Mrs Hughes was making her way along the walkway at the back of her work premises when she fell into a manhole.

The manhole cover was not secured properly and when she stepped onto it, the cover flipped up, and she went down onto the ground. She suffered muscle damage in her leg and right buttock as a result of the fall.

Investigations highlighted that this had also happened to someone else a few months previously but nothing had been done to correct it and make the manhole cover safe. 

“You don’t realise until you are injured how much this can stop you from doing everyday things”

As a result of the accident, Mrs Hughes has on-going symptoms of pain through her leg and into her foot due to the nerve damage sustained in the accident.

Mrs Hughes had to have physiotherapy and acupuncture to help her recover, but she suffers from chronic pain syndrome.

“I wasn’t able to do anything, I was housebound. You don’t realise until you are injured how much this can stop you from doing everyday things. I couldn’t even go shopping or walk my dogs as I could barely walk, the pain was too intense.”

Previous solicitors couldn’t find out who was responsible

She had called a third party business who passed her personal injury claim to a Scottish law firm who mainly did work for commercial clients.

“It took forever. I kept phoning and was being pushed to other solicitors in the firm because that solicitor had left – that happened 3 or 4 times.

“After almost 2 years, they told me they couldn’t find out who the drain belonged to in order to make the claim for compensation so they couldn’t take the case any further.”

Running out of time to make a claim

In Scotland, individuals who suffer an accident generally have three years from the date of the accident in which to make a claim for compensation.

By the time Mrs Hughes got in touch with our Edinburgh office, her case was 10 months away from time-barring (being out of time). However, before the claim could be pursued, it was critical to know who the owners of the drain were.

“Digby Brown were excellent, very much a personal service”

Our solicitors managed to track down the company responsible for the drain and raise a court action on our client’s behalf to ensure she did not lose out on her right to claim compensation.

My solicitor was great from the very start. Within a week she knew who was responsible; even though the other firm couldn’t find this out.”

“It was very much a personal service. My solicitor knew my name when I called and remembered the details of my case.

“I knew she was interested and that she cared about the case and what had happened to me.”

Five-figure compensation

In the end, we secured £20,000 in compensation for Mrs Hughes.

“It wasn’t just about compensation for me – it was about someone admitting they were at fault and taking the blame for what happened.

“I have used some of the compensation to buy a camper van so I can get away, even if I am in pain. I can’t really sit on a plane anymore due to my injuries but with the camper van I can put my feet up and get more comfortable.

“I am hoping to use the remaining compensation for other things which can help make life easier in the future."