400,000 for lady who slipped getting out of her car
Mrs Hopewell instructed Express Solicitors in 2012 following a slip at work whilst getting out of her car. Mrs Hopewell worked at a school in Hertfordshire as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant; the school where she worked had placed wooden boards down in an area of the car park in an attempt to cover a muddy patch but unfortunately created a hazard with the placement of the boards.
Mrs Hopewell suffered an injury to the posterior cruciate ligament of her left knee and a soft tissue injury to her ankle. This caused a weakening in her knee and unfortunately led to a further incident in 2014 when Mrs Hopewell’s knee gave way whilst walking down the stairs at work.
Following the second incident, Mrs Hopewell’s health took a turn for the worst and a condition that she suffered with prior to the accident was significantly worsened. This unfortunately resulted in Mrs Hopewell eventually being dismissed from work due to ill-heath and left her heavily dependent on her family for help with day to day tasks.
Liability for the first accident was admitted quite early on in the claim by the Council, after originally being denied. However, the main issue in dispute was whether the second accident happened as a result of the first accident or not. There was also disagreement between the parties over the significance of an earlier accident in 2012. Mrs Hopewell’s case was that she had fully recovered from a minor injury sustained following a fall in the snow, whereas the Defendant tried to argue that this was in fact the cause of her symptoms and not the accident they admitted fault for.
A team of medico-legal experts were instructed by both parties including Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons, Consultants in Pain Management and Consultant Rheumatologists. Following 23 medical reports the experts agreed on some issues, however there was still a fair amount of disagreement between the experts and it looked like the case was heading for Trial.
To make matters more complicated, Mrs Hopewell was accused of exaggerating her injuries by the medical experts instructed by the Council and accused of bringing a claim for damages which were far greater that the correct value of her claim. This was not only an upsetting allegation for our client to rebut but also an allegation that if proven would have resulted in her being liable for the other parties legal costs.
In an attempt to bring the matter to an end without the need for a Trial, a Joint Settlement Meeting was held in October 2016. This involved the Solicitors on each side, the Barristers on each side and the client attending a meeting to discuss settling the claim. Throughout the day various offers were made by each party and eventually the claim settled for £390,000 net of interim payments. The client had previously received a £10,000 interim payment bringing the total settlement amount to £400,000.
This significant settlement will help Mrs Hopewell regain some of her independence and make life a little easier for her in the future.