Civil Fraud Quarterly Round-Up: Q2 2020
Stephanie Code acted for a client who sustained serious head injuries as a result of an accident at work.
Our client worked for a firm of local tree surgeons at the time of his accident and was assisting two colleagues with the removal of a diseased tree. He held onto a rope, as instructed by a colleague, which was fixed around a branch that was to be removed. The weight of a falling branch caused him to sustain a serious head trauma when he was pulled off the ground by the weight of the falling branch and hit his head on either the falling branch or the trunk of the tree. It was alleged that there were a number of failings by the employer in terms of the way that the job was carried out including, amongst other things, a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided, a failure to conduct an appropriate risk assessment and a failure to consider the use of a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP).
Immediately after the accident, our client was admitted to hospital in May 2009 and was put into an induced coma. Initially it was felt that his injury was not severe. However, a CT scan was performed which showed that he had a massive swelling of the brain. His condition became critical and he was put on life support. He developed seizures when an attempt was made to withdraw life support and then contracted MRSA on the second day of admission. He was on life support for two days. He then developed meningitis, had two lumbar punctures and a course of antibiotics.
He also suffered a fracture to the frontal bones, skull base, maxillary antra, a right sided orbital fracture, extra axle haematoma and pneumocephalus. He was eventually discharged from hospital in June 2009, having lost two stone in weight. Despite making a very good recovery he suffers with on-going symptoms, most notably fatigue, and in the period immediately after his release from hospital he experienced anxiety, poor short term memory, headaches and depression.
Stephanie Code and Jonathan Smith issued proceedings against the employer for failing to provide a safe system of work and adequate health and safety equipment. The claim was fought by the defendant employer throughout and they alleged our client's actions contributed to his injuries.
The case settled out of court for £360,000.
“Jonathan looked after me… I never felt out of my depth. Jonathan took the time to explain things to me in layman’s terms. It was a flawless, smooth, efficient and tailored service.”
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