Nurse's trip accident in unsafe workplace

Our client, who was employed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as a staff nurse at Stobhill Hospital, was involved in a workplace accident on 16 December 2016.

She was attending her ward's office Christmas party when, at approximately 4:30pm, she received an emergency page to alert her to a fire alarm in Skye House (our client was located in McKinnon House). She proceeded to make her way to Skye House via a path running alongside a car park. This path was poorly lit. It was so dark that our client could not see the upcoming kerb, and so she fell down as she reached it. She landed on her left knee and both hands.

The consequences

At Stobhill Hospital, our client was given an x-ray, which confirmed she had fractured the fibula of her right ankle. As she couldn't put weight on her foot, she had to wear a supportive boot for six to eight weeks. Even when the boot was removed, she still could not put any weight on her foot, and she required a stick to use around the house.

The injury meant she wasn't able to leave the house that much, and she required help around the house from her partner and her daughters. She also had to be prescribed painkillers from her doctor. Overall, she was absent from work for four months following the accident but didn't sustain a loss of earnings.

The Settlement

The staff nurse instructed Thompsons personal injury solicitors through her union, UNISON.

Liability was placed on her employers, as a safe working environment has not been provided. Furthermore, they had failed to address previous complaints concerning the lighting. According to one of her colleagues who had accompanied her to Skye House, the inadequate lighting had been complained about before (lighting was finally installed in the area during our client's absence).

However, when the claim was intimated to our client’s employers, they initially repudiated liability. We therefore obtained supportive witness evidence from our client’s colleagues confirming that the area was very dark at the time of our client's accident and that lighting had now been erected in this particular area. When we forwarded this information to the employers, liability was admitted.

To help us valuate the claim, we had our client examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. This confirmed that our client sustained injuries to her right ankle, left knee and left wrist. Although her knee and wrist made a full recovery after a number of weeks, she continues to experience pain in her right ankle. The medical report confirmed that this pain will be permanent.

We sent our medical report and valuation to the solicitors acting on behalf of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, who put forward an offer of £7,700 in full and final settlement. Our work accident solicitors discussed this offer with our client, and we agreed that it was too low. When we rejected it, a further offer of £8,700 compensation for our client's trip injury was put forward in full and final settlement. This offer was discussed with our client and she confirmed she wanted to accept it.

The case was settled on 2 August 2017.

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