This case appeared in issue 12 April 2019 Lawtel PI Bulletin
|GRAHAM v J MURPHY AND SONS LTD (2018)|
The claimant, a 48-year-old man, received £200,000 for the injuries he sustained to the back, arm and leg during the course of his work in October 2012. He developed chronic pain syndrome and, due to a pre-existing condition, he developed peritonitis for which he underwent surgery.
Employers’ Liability: On 9 October 2012 the claimant employee (C) was working as a machine operator and banksman for the defendant employer (D) when he was struck by a piece of work material, namely a sheet pile. The material measured approximately 8m long by 2m to 3m wide and struck C in the left upper limb, abdomen and left forearm. As a result of the impact C was thrown 6ft into the air and landed approximately 20ft away from where the initial impact occurred.
C sustained injury and brought an action against D under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 alleging that, to lift the sheet pile, it used a machine which was not suitable and sufficient for its purpose.
Injuries: C sustained soft tissue injuries to his back, left arm and leg.
Effects: C developed chronic pain syndrome and experienced low mood and irritability. He also suffered a blunt abdominal trauma which caused an exacerbation of his asymptomatic diverticulitis and subsequently developed into peritonitis.
C was prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication which he took regularly. Due to the peritonitis he underwent a bowel resection and colostomy which was then reversed and an ileostomy was performed.
C found walking or sitting for long periods of time, sleeping and carrying out domestic chores to be extremely difficult due to his injuries. He used a walking stick as an aid for mobilising and relied on his wife for assistance in performing personal care tasks and domestic chores. After the accident he was unable to return to his job.
Prognosis: At the date of settlement C continued to take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication regularly. His soft tissue injuries were expected to resolve within 12 months. However, the onset of chronic pain syndrome caused him to experience ongoing difficulties and symptoms and so it was recommended that he receive neurological input. He was also advised to seek examination by an expert in relation to his psychological symptoms.
Out of Court Settlement: £200,000 total damages
Background to damages:
The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages. However, the following breakdown was estimated by the claimant’s solicitors and counsel:
Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £63,000.
Simmons v Castle  EWCA Civ 1288 10 per cent uplift: applied.
Breakdown of Special Damages: Miscellaneous past costs: £137,000.
Lee Nowland of Cobden House Chambers instructed by Express Solicitors Ltd (Manchester) for the claimant. Nicholas Grimshaw of Deans Court Chambers was instructed by DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd for the defendant.
This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of David Dean of Express Solicitors Ltd, solicitor for the claimant.
Document No. AM0203469