Ankle Injury at Work Results in over £30,000 Compensation

Mr B is a multi-trader working for a national company but based in London. His employer had a contract with a local council for the maintenance and repair of a block of flats.

Mr B was working with his workmate refurbishing an empty flat in the block and had used the back entrance for the time he was there. On the day of the accident, it was a cold, dry day and on this occasion Mr B was required to use the front entrance to the block of flats for the first time. He entered the building up an outside flight of steps whilst carrying some tools. He then had to return to his van to collect more tools. However, as he was walking down the steps, he slipped, landing awkwardly and breaking his ankle badly.

On inspection of the steps, he found that he had slipped on a patch of ice which had formed on one of the steps. He thought this was unusual as there was no ice anywhere else.

Mr B was taken to hospital by ambulance and underwent an operation to insert a metal plate into his ankle. Unfortunately the operation was not carried out competently and he had to undergo a further operation on his ankle to rectify the problem. Mr B subsequently developed an infection in his ankle which required him to have yet a further operation. He was off work for seven months during which time he only received sick pay, incurring a loss of earnings.

He returned to work but continued to suffer problems with his ankle which was painful and swelled up after a day of heavy manual work. He was referred for pain management which did not help and was left with significant, ongoing pain which would be permanent. He was unable to enjoy his previous hobbies of going to the gym, running, coaching football and playing with his grandchildren.

Mr B approached Advance Legal for advice. We brought a claim against both the local council and Mr B’s employer for negligence. Both parties denied liability for his accident.  

We obtained witness statements from some of the residents of the block of flats where the accident occurred, which showed that water had been leaking from underneath the step where Mr B slipped for many years. Neither the Council nor Mr B’s employers had done anything about this leak, which iced over in cold weather forming a dangerous and slippery surface to the step. Mr B’s employers had not warned him about this problem and so Mr B had not seen the icy patch or known to avoid it.

Both parties continued to deny liability and so Advance Legal issued court proceedings against both parties. Despite evidence that was overwhelmingly supportive of the fact that the defendant had been negligent in not addressing the problem and making the steps safe for residents and visitors, they continued to deny liability until a few weeks before trial, when they finally conceded that they were largely to blame for our client’s accident. Our client accepted 25% of the blame in that he had failed to notice and avoid the icy patch, but he received £30,000 in compensation.

We were able to show that the hospital had also been negligent in its care of Mr B. Normally in such cases, the defendant responsible for the original accident would also be responsible for all injuries resulting from that accident, including any negligent treatment by clinicians in treating that injury - a claimant is not entitled to double recovery of damages.

However, in this case, because the defendant had only conceded 75% of the responsibility for the original accident, Advance Legal was able to claim 25% of the additional damage caused by the negligent medical treatment which Mr B had received. He recovered an additional £5,000 damages from the hospital for this part of his claim.

Advance Legal fought hard for Mr B over four years to recover the compensation which he deserved and was entitled to and he was extremely pleased with the result that we achieved for him.

Dianne Barker is a Solicitor at Advance Legal. For advice on pursuing a claim for compensation, please contact Dianne or a member of our Personal Injury team.