Client's trip due to poorly installed banister

On 14 October 2015, our client had an accident in his home that led him to seek compensation with Thompsons Solicitors.

Our client in this case had previously suffered a stroke in 2008 and two mini strokes in 2009 and 2010. These strokes had left him with a weakened left side (hemiparesis). He'd also developed vascular dementia. Because of his condition, he required help around the house from a social worker provided to him by Glasgow City Council.

Prior to the accident, our client was still able to make his way around the house, albeit with the assistance of aids. He could walk up and down the stairs but needed to hold on to the bannister on one side.

The bannister in our client's house did not extend all the way to the bottom of the stairs. Instead, it stopped where the wall stopped, about two or three steps before the bottom. There is a cabinet in place inline with these final few unguarded steps. It was decided that having a bannister which extended all the way to the bottom of the stairs would be beneficial to him.

When the building contractor, City Building, came to carry out the necessary adaptations to the bannister, however, they left a gap between where the old bannister finished and the new one started. When questioned about this by our client's daughter, the workman informed her that his manager had instructed him to leave a gap.

A few weeks later, as our client was making his way down the stairs, his hand got caught in the gap and he fell down the remainder of the stairs.

The consequences

His wife and daughter, who were in the house at the time of the accident, took him to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The doctor there confirmed he had suffered a non-displaced proximal humeral fracture to his left shoulder. This was made worse by our client's existing hemiparesis. A medical expert confirmed his left arm was already compromised with a fixed flexion contracture of the elbow, and contractures in our client's left hand had already caused a significant loss of power and function.

Our client needed to have his arm in a sling for six to eight weeks, during which time he had to attend the fracture clinic. After these eight weeks, the worst of the symptoms had settled.

As a result of the accident, our client's mobility substantially decreased. He had to greater rely on his carers and family to move him around the house and to help with his personal care, and he was unable to walk more than a few steps without the assistance of a wheelchair.

A new bannister, with no gaps, has been installed since the accident. But there is no reason why it couldn't have been installed this way in the first place.

The settlement

Our client was able to instruct Thompsons' accident solicitors through his union, UNISON.

Because of his health condition, our client was unable to speak directly to us by telephone. Therefore, it was necessary for a Power of Attorney to be put in place, allowing our solicitors to obtain instructions through his wife.

When we intimated a claim to the defender, they put forward an initial offer of £6,000. We discussed this with our client, and it was rejected. This led to an improved offer of £7,000 being put forward, which, in August 2017, after further discussions with Thompsons' personal injury solicitors, our client confirmed he wanted to accept.

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