HAGGERTY v MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (2013)

Published in Lawtel January 2018

Kimberly Kirkby

 

Total Damages: £47,500 (£48,129.37 RPI)
PSLA: £19,000 (£19,251.75 RPI)

Trial/settlement date: 30/5/2017
Type of Award: Out of Court Settlement

Court: Out of Court Settlement

Age at trial: 29

Age at injury: 25
Sex: Female

The claimant, a 29-year-old woman, received £47,500 for the ankle injury she sustained during the course of her employment in November 2013. She suffered an abnormality, partial rupture and damage to the ligaments, had a 20 per cent risk of developing arthritis between 10 and 20 years after the accident and was likely to always be disadvantaged on the labour market.

Employers’ Liability: On 13 June 2013 the claimant (C), during the course of her employment as a combat HR specialist for the defendant (D), was walking from her office across a hangar at an airfield when she stepped in hydraulic fluid on the floor and slipped. C fell backwards.

C sustained injury and brought an action against D under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 reg.5 and reg.12 alleging that it was negligent in failing (i) to maintain the workplace to an efficient state, efficient working order and good repair; (ii) to ensure that the floor was not slippery such as to expose her to a risk to her health and safety.

Liability admitted.

Injuries: C sustained a sprain of the left ankle.

Total injury duration: permanent

Effects: C suffered abnormality and a partial rupture of the anterior talofibula ligament in the ankle, damage to the calcaneofibular ligament in the outside of the ankle and fluid in the ankle joint.

C’s symptoms were aggravated when standing for over one hour, walking for longer than between one and two hours and driving for longer than 45 minutes. She was unable to take part in physical activities such as badminton, horse riding, dog training and netball. Her medical and fitness status in the army was downgraded which affected her prospects of being promoted. However, C secured alternative, more lucrative, employment.

In December 2014 C underwent surgery on the ankle.

Prognosis: There was a 20 per cent chance of C developing arthritis between 10 and 20 years after the accident. There was also the possibility of her requiring further surgery. C was likely to be permanently disadvantaged on the open labour market due to her abilities being restricted when standing or walking for long periods.

Out of Court Settlement: £47,500 total damages

Background to damages: C had two pre-existing ankle injuries, sustained in 2007 and 2009.

The total figure included a sum for loss of opportunity for future employment but as it was a global settlement there was no specific breakdown for this.

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:

Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £19,000.

Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288 10 per cent uplift: applied.

Breakdown of Special Damages: Miscellaneous special damages: £28,500.

Express Solicitors Ltd for the claimant.

This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of Kimberley Kirkby of Express Solicitors Ltd, solicitor for the claimant.

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