My client was involved in an accident at work in September 2011. Briefly he was working as a labourer throwing heavy pieces of metal into a skip when he injured his back. He was only 23 at the time.
We obtained a report and opinion from an orthopaedic spinal specialist. An MRI scan revealed that he has some significant degenerative changes in his back that were unusual for someone so young. Our expert was of the opinion that the accident had accelerated these changes in his back by a period of 2-5 years and his prospects on the open job market were affected for 2-3 years.
Since the accident he has been unable to carry on with manual work in the building industry where he has qualifications and had paid for further training. He now works as a terminal operator which is more office and driving based.
The Defendants admitted liability for the accident but had very different views to us about the value of the claim. They initially offered only £2000. We were claiming for his injuries, his lost earnings and also compensation for the effect on his ability to get a job now that he couldn’t do the job he had trained to do.
My client was initially off work for 8 weeks with his back. While he was off he decided to have elective surgery for an unrelated shoulder problem. He made a full recovery for his shoulder injury within 8 months. We sought to agree settlement on the evidence from our expert but excluding the 8 month period that related to his shoulder.
Despite this the Defendant continued to argue that his shoulder was the reason he could not do manual work and not his back and so it was nothing to do with them. After proceedings were issued they offered £15,000 and then increased this to £25,000 but we still considered this insufficient.
We had a telephone conference with the expert and the barrister to make sure that he agreed that the shoulder problem was totally irrelevant to the claim. The Defendant put their own questions to the expert to try and reduce their liability but he stuck by his opinion that the shoulder problem had no effect on his ability to work. The Defendant then increased their offer to £30,000 and said it was their best offer. We challenged them to explain how they had calculated this figure since we claimed his lost earnings were a lot higher. They had no evidence to contradict ours but still thought that should pay what they wanted and not the true value of the claim.
Eventually when we had a date through for a trial where a Judge would have decided the amount of compensation he would get they increased their offer to £45,000 which was a lot closer to our full valuation and my client decided to accept it.
Even where liability is admitted you can face a challenge from the Defendant as to the value of the claim but here they did not even have any evidence to contradict ours. They took their time to come round to our way of thinking but in the end our perseverance paid off when you look at the difference between the first and last offers they made and my client though it was worth the wait. It is important that you don’t under settle your case.