Our client was employed as a scaffolder working with a team. As the team was erecting the scaffolding our client stepped on a board which had not been properly secured by his colleagues and fell 6 meters through the scaffolding. He suffered 3 fractures in his spinal column, damage to the spinal disc and 4 fractured ribs as well as an injury to his head. He was an inpatient at hospital for 7 weeks before being discharged home on crutches.
We were able to secure an early admission of liability from the client’s employers. The client was unable to work for a year and on his return to work was restricted to light duties at a lower wage. As a consequence, he ran into financial difficulties and we secured an interim payment for him to alleviate these.
We obtained medical evidence from a spinal surgeon and psychiatrist and obtained a further interim payment to fund specialist physiotherapy recommended by the spinal surgeon. The Defendant’s insurers put forward a settlement offer which, although substantial, was not in our view adequate to compensate the client, particularly in view of the concerns he had about his long-term employability. Although he had been able to return to work, he could no longer carry out some of the physical aspects of his job, such as climbing ladders. However, he did have plans to retrain by doing a university course in civil engineering with a view to being able to move into more supervisory work.
Although, we had initially envisaged obtaining further medical evidence on the client’s ongoing symptoms, there was no certainty that this would have supported a higher level of compensation. After considerable discussion, the client decided that he would rather seek an early settlement to put the case behind him and enable him to concentrate on his plans for retraining for future employment. By emphasising the risk that the client’s ongoing symptoms posed to his employability, we were able to negotiate a substantial increase on the Defendant’s original offer, which the client was pleased to accept to enable him to move on and proceed with his future career plans.