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Claimant suffered a knee injury at work. Claim successful despite being abandoned by her trade union solicitors on the advice of Counsel

The Claimant stumbled and fell backwards into a vehicle when, during a training session, she was required to use a foot operated mechanism to deploy and retract a step on a works van which was situated in the car park. Within a few days, the Claimant was struggling with pain in her knee. The Claimant did not initially report to her GP or to the hospital that she had suffered an accident so that initial investigations centred on non-traumatic causes of her knee pain. The Claimant did reference a minor work incident during an orthopaedic consultation but reported that she did not think the incident could have led to such a serious knee problem. It transpired that the Claimant had significant degenerative changes in the knee.

The Claimant sought our assistance after the solicitors appointed by her union rejected the file after some 2 years on the basis that Counsel had advised that causation could not be established.

Liability was also denied on the basis that the van was only a few months old and the mechanism was not faulty. Evidence was obtained from the Claimant’s work colleagues that the step was difficulty to use, that a number of colleagues resorted to operating  the mechanism by hand, that the Defendant had advised not to use the step post-accident, that the risk assessment post-accident found the step could cause injury even if used correctly and that ultimately the step was replaced with a motorised mechanism. The medical evidence obtained suggested a 2 year aggravation/acceleration of the Claimants degenerate knee.   It was argued that the Claimant had not appreciated the effect of the accident as she was unaware of the extent of the degenerate symptoms in her knee and hence her failure to raise the accident in her initial medical consultations.

Proceedings were issued as the Defendant refused to accept liability or causation. The Defendant was given permission to obtain their own expert evidence. The case ultimately settled for £17,500 in respect of the Claimant’s injuries, loss of earnings and care. The settlement reflected that causation was not straightforward and the Defendants expert evidence will likely to erode the prognosis.

– Carl Davies

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