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Angela Richards, a personal injury Solicitor at Seth Lovis & Co recently acted for Mrs J who was injured when she fell at a hotel.

The Accident

Mrs J and her daughter were visiting a hotel where Mrs J’s daughter was due to get married. They were descending some steps that led down to the hotel’s gardens, when Mrs J slipped on a green substance, believed to be algae, which had accumulated on one of the steps. Her right foot slipped from underneath her and she fell, suffering a fracture dislocation of her left ankle. Mrs J had to undergo surgery on her ankle to have a plate and screws inserted to stabilize the fracture and she spent 6 days in hospital. She then had a course of physiotherapy.

Expert Personal Injury Advice

Mrs J decided to bring a personal injury claim against the hotel and instructed Angela Richards of our firm. Angela brought the claim against the hotel under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 on the basis that they failed to institute a reasonable system of cleaning and inspecting the steps, particularly given there were large trees whose branches overhung the steps.  The hotel’s insurers admitted liability for the accident at an early stage. 

Mrs J spent 7 weeks in plaster and on crutches. She subsequently went on to develop a Deep Vein Thrombosis in her left leg. She required further hospitalisation for a period of around 9 weeks and anti-coagulant treatment for close to one year following hospitalisation. She developed a condition called Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS). This causes her to suffer aching in her left groin, swelling in her left leg (for which she has to wear compression stockings for the rest of her life) muscle cramps in the left calf and severe itching of the left leg which disturbs her sleep. The swelling in her left leg causes her leg to become ‘ponderous’, so that when she is tired, her left leg will drag. She is unable to squat or kneel without discomfort. She has to be careful when walking on uneven ground and her walking distance is restricted, as is her ability to travel on long car journeys or on long haul flights. Mrs J also suffered from discomfort in her ankle from the screws which were inserted after the accident and it has been recommended that she undergo further surgery in the future to remove the screws. 

Vascular surgeon provided evidence that Mrs J’s physical health would never return to how it was prior to the accident.

As a result of the PTS, Mrs J is at risk of suffering a further serious deterioration in her health due to a number of possible complications that could arise in the future, including, ultimately, the loss of her leg. To compensate her fully and properly for this risk became one of the main issues in the claim.

Mrs J also developed psychological symptoms following the accident in the form of flashbacks of the accident and recurrent intrusive thoughts. She was anxious when walking for fear of the risk of another accident. She was and remains very concerned about her health due to the injury. A Consultant Psychiatrist who examined her for the purposes of the claim, diagnosed her as suffering from an Adjustment Disorder. The Psychiatrist recommended that Mrs J undergo a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to deal with these psychological symptoms.

Before the accident. Mrs J was working as a nurse in a nursing home. When she could return to work, she had to take a day off in the middle of the week to rest and she was unable to undertake any overtime as she did before the accident. She is likely to have to retire earlier than her normal retirement age due to her injuries and symptoms.   

£160k Compensation Award

Following persistent and hard negotiations, Angela secured a settlement of £160,000 for Mrs J, which represented compensation for her physical and psychological injuries, and included the financial consequences of the accident including amongst other things, her loss of earnings and overtime, loss of pension contributions, and future treatment costs. The settlement also included a sum to reflect the risk of Mrs J’s condition deteriorating.

Following settlement Angela Richards commented: “Mrs J’s residual symptoms are now permanent and she lives with them on a daily basis. She also has the additional worry that her symptoms may deteriorate further. I was pleased to be able to secure a settlement for her that will give her some financial security for the future”.   

Author - Angela Richards

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