Trip on unsafe stairs leads to chipped bone

Following a workplace accident our client, an administrative assistant for South Lanarkshire Council, was involved in on 12 November 2016, she decided to pursue a claim with Thompsons.

On the day of her accident, our client was approximately halfway through her shift, carrying out secretarial duties such as typing records, arranging meetings, and dealing with team leaders.

When she was making her way back to her office building from her lunch break, her foot got caught in a hole that was present on the concrete stairs leading up to the building's car park. She fell forward on to the pavement, landing on her left-hand side. To break her fall, our client placed her left hand out in front of her, but doing so caused immediate pain in her left shoulder. As she managed to get to her feet, she immediately became aware of pain in her right foot.

The Consequences

She made her way back to the office and reported the injury. Although she was intent on continuing with her work, our client soon found that the pain in her right foot was becoming worse, and she informed her manager that she had to return home.

She then got a lift to the hospital, where an x-ray confirmed she'd chipped the bone in her foot. She required a moon boot and crutches to aid the recovery process, and she was also prescribed pain relief medication.

We should also note that our client suffers from osteoarthritis. Because of this pre-existing condition, our client had previously had an operation to replace her right hip, and she found that wearing the moon boot caused a strain on her replacement hip. As a result, walking was very difficult.

She also struggled with several household tasks, such as hoovering, cleaning, shopping, cooking, and dressing. She was still able to work, but required her manager to drive her to and from work.

The Settlement

Our client instructed Thompsons personal injury solicitors through her union, UNISON.

As South Lanarkshire Council had not properly maintained the stairs, we believe there was a clear argument for liability for our client's accident. By not fixing the hole in the stairs, they had created a trip hazard in the form of an unsuitable floor surface.

We intimated a claim to the Council, and they admitted liability. To help our client receive a fair settlement, we had her examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, whose report confirmed she'd sustained a metatarsal fracture and soft tissue injuries to her wrist and shoulder, allowing for a recovery period of eight weeks.

This report was sent to the defender (the insurance company acting on behalf of the council) along with a valuation. They responded with an offer of £3,000 in full and final settlement. Our client confirmed she was happy to accept this amount, bringing her trip injury case to a close on 25 August 2017.

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