How A Fall From A Ladder Led to a £250,000 Payout
Dated: 14/04/2016 By Vashti Norman
If you fall and sustain a life altering injury through no fault of your own, you may feel life has been unfair, and question “why me?” Our team of expert solicitors deal with cases of complex Personal Injury every day: below is the story of one client, whose fall from a bunk bed resulted in a £250,000 compensation settlement.
We can help even when you might think your case is a lost cause.
Getting On The Ladder
Our client was 52 years old when her injury was sustained at her rented property. The bunk bed which she was supplied with as part of her furnished rental made use of a ladder that was not affixed to the bed or the floor.
This ladder was the only means of getting up and down from the bed; and our client fell on 3rd January 2013, suffering a serious fracture of her spine at T11 level.
Our client was left with fractured spinal injuries and the Landlord admitted liability.
Upon treatment at the hospital, it was decided to go down the non-surgical route in the form of a back brace and physiotherapy.
Continued Back Problems
After a lot of time passed, the fracture did eventually heal – but in a deformed position that left the fracture unstable and allowed it to continue to move.
It was noted that the vertebrae was at risk of coming into contact with the spinal nerve and would lead to paraplegia within 20 – 25 years.
It was immediately after this diagnosis that we helped to devise a schedule that would provide for the Claimant’s special needs in 20 – 25 years’ time as a paraplegic; taking into account the high level of care and special equipment that would be required.
This was the point where the Defendant decided that a separate legal case should be taken against the NHS; whist the defendant had accepted liability for the accident and for the injury she sustained, but anything after, it was considered that there was a novus actus interveniens.
- Novus Actus Interveniens: This is when negligence of the Defendant is established, but another event breaks the connection between them, and means that the defendant is not solely liable for any further wrongdoing.
The Defendant alleged that if the NHS had operated, the complications of the disc healing in a deformed and unstable position would not have arisen and the Claimant becoming paraplegic would not happen.
Continued Counsel and Compensation Claims
This complex case was then referred to Counsel (Adam Dawson from 9 Gough Square Chambers). Where, he stated that the Claimant would have to show that there had been gross negligence by the NHS to have a successful claim.
Because our client had received an accepted method of medical practice (the non-surgical route), Counsel could not find that there had been gross negligence on the part of the NHS.
It was sufficient on their part that the choice between conservative treatment and surgical treatment had been considered. The decision was reasonable at the time. To add to the decision to go down the none-surgical route, the Claimant agreed that she would not have then, and still would not have the surgery recommended due to the risks involved.
It was concluded that Defendant’s assertion of Novus Actus Interveniens was not credible; and no claim could be made against the NHS. The original case continued, and was ultimately settled in favour of our client to the sum of £250,000.
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