Our client was a Care Assistant who was working in a care home and in the process of clearing away plates after the residents had finished their evening meal in the dining area. As she was doing so, she slipped on a Wet Floor which had been recently mopped, but did not have signage around it to indicate it was wet and had not been dry mopped. She fell backwards to the ground, sustaining a blow to the back of her head and elbow and twisting her neck. She suffered immediate pain in her head and elbow and a whiplash style injury to her neck, which subsequently required physiotherapy treatment to aid her recovery. We were able to recover personal injury compensation for her of £7,500.
A brief summary of events is set out below.
Date of Accident: November 2013
Time between formal instruction and successful conclusion: We took full instructions from our client in January 2014 and managed to settle the case in January 2016. Because of the nature of her ongoing symptoms as a result of this accident, our client sustained a prolonged recovery, which is why this claim took some time to settle.
How the claim proceeded: Our client had a history of depression and prior to the accident was making good progress with her condition. Following the accident and her resulting injuries and symptoms, she found her depression much more difficult to cope with and as a result was unable to work for nearly nine months. We had initially arranged for her to see a medical expert who could assess her physical injuries and provide us with a prognosis for her recovery. However, when he examined her, along with recommending a course of physiotherapy to assist her neck injury, he also recommended she be seen by a Clinical Psychologist, who could assess her mental health and provide a prognosis for treatment and recovery. We arranged the second appointment in June 2014 and the psychologist recommended a course of psychological therapy for our client. We had initially contacted the opponent’s with our client’s claim early in 2014 for a decision on liability for the accident, but they were not willing to provide one until they had seen sight of our client’s medical evidence. We were able to provide them with this towards the latter part of 2014 and they responded with a very low offer of compensation, which we refused. Our client had only just begun rehabilitation treatment for her physical and mental health injuries, so we were unable to accurately value her claim at that time and therefore delayed approaching the opponents with a counter offer for compensation, until the latter part of 2015, when there was a clearer prognosis for her recovery. When we did so, after a brief period of negotiation the opponents put forward a settlement offer our client was happy to accept.
Were Court proceedings necessary?: No.
Outcome: The client secured £3,750 for her injuries and £3,750 for her financial losses, including her loss of earnings and the cost of her rehabilitation treatments.
Comment: In this case, cleaning staff should have waited until the dining area was vacated and cleared away before mopping the Floor to avoid any accidents. The floor area should also have been dry mopped and wet floor signs should have been placed close to the mopped area. It was the employers’ responsibility to manage health and safety practices in their work place in order to avoid any accidents to staff, residents or visitors. Clear instructions should have been given to cleaning staff on the practices which should have been adopted when mopping floor areas. If a more robust system had been in place, this accident would not have happened and our client would not have been injured.
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