Published in Lawtel November 2017

Sarah Mawdley


Total Damages: £50,000 (£51,248.14 RPI)

PSLA: £20,000 (£20,499.25 RPI)

Trial/settlement date: 28/2/2017

Type of Award: Out of Court Settlement

Court: Out of Court Settlement

Age at trial: 42

Age at injury: 39

Sex: Female

The claimant, a 42-year-old woman, received £50,000 for the fracture to her arm sustained when she fell at a sea life centre owned by the defendant in August 2013, although liability was disputed. She fractured her right radial head, suffered soft tissue injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder and broadly recovered by 17 months after the accident, except for pain in her elbow.

Occupiers’ Liability: On 21 August 2013, the claimant (C) fell whilst at a sea life centre owned by the defendant (D). C had been walking towards a lift but, due to the lighting being subdued, she did not see a ramp sloping inwards. She fell forwards, put both arms out and landed heavily on her wrists and knees. C was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.

C attended hospital and was treated for soft tissue injuries to her arm and shoulder. She was later diagnosed with a fracture to her right radial head.

C sustained injury and brought an action against D alleging that it breached its statutory duty under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 s.2, specifically failing to take any or any reasonable care to see that C would be reasonably safe when using the premises as a customer.

Liability disputed.

Injuries: C suffered a fracture to her arm and soft tissue injuries to her knee and shoulder.

Total injury duration: 17 months

Effects: C was still suffering with pain six months after the accident so was referred for an MRI, showing a 10mm wide osteochondral injury of the capitellum with unstable fragment.

She was also dazed and shocked and suffered post-traumatic stress.

C experienced a clicking sensation in her right elbow and difficulty straightening that elbow.

C recovered mostly from her symptoms by January 2015, according to an expert’s report, except for a persistent pain in her right elbow.

C underwent three sessions of physiotherapy and took two to four analgesic tablets per day when the pain was severe.

Following the accident C experienced difficulty with heavy lifting and looking after young children. She also experienced difficulty standing and sitting for long periods of time and sleeping.

Prognosis: it was possible that surgical intervention would be required in the future, or C’s expressed preference for shockwave treatment, which would provide a 50% chance of significant improvement. There was also a 20% possibility of C developing arthritis in the future.

Out of Court Settlement: £50,000 total damages

Background to damages:

C’s counsel advised that damages were likely to be awarded between £57,780 and £73,680 and confirmed that the court was more likely on the balance of probabilities to accept C’s version of events. The case settled at a figure lower than expected on an economic basis.

The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages. However, the following breakdown was estimated by the claimant’s counsel:

Breakdown of General Damages: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £20,000 plus interest; Future losses: £33,045.

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

Breakdown of Special Damages: £5,970 plus interest.

Myles Jackson instructed by Express Solicitors (Manchester) for the claimant.

This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of Sarah Mawdsley of Express Solicitors, solicitor for the claimant.


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