Client claims for trip and fall injury due to pothole

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Thompsons Solicitors recently secured compensation for a retired Unison member who was involved in a trip and fall injury due to a pothole.

This case study relates to her claim.

The background

At the time of her accident, our client lived on the Isle of Lismore. In September 2021, she was taking a ferry from the island to the mainland. Her fall accident happened when she was walking across the ferry car park to the terminal, situated on the north side of the island.

As she made her way to the queue for the ferry, she placed her foot on the edge of a pothole. She lost her balance and fell onto her left side, hitting her left shoulder. As she lay in the pothole, unable to move and in severe pain, a few witnesses to the accident came to assist her. They helped her onto the ferry so she could go to her local GP surgery in Port Appin.

The consequences

At the surgery, a cold press was put on her foot. She was then taken to Lorn & Islands Hospital, where staff took X-rays of her foot and shoulder. The X-rays showed that she had fractured her left proximal humorous and a metatarsal bone in her right foot.

Our client later went to the Royal Alexandra Hospital to discuss the possibility of surgery. The surgeons planned to place an artificial joint in her shoulder. Although it was possible that the injury would get better on its own, the surgeons advised her that, without surgery, movement in her shoulder would be limited. Furthermore, because of our client’s age and because she had recently suffered a heart attack prior to her accident, there was a risk of complications. Ultimately, she did not go ahead with the surgery.

She wore a sling to support her shoulder and a moon boot to support her foot as the fractures healed, and she attended physiotherapy.

The shoulder injury greatly restricted our client’s arm movement, which led to a difficult recovery period. She struggled with everyday tasks, such as showering and dressing, and could not complete any household chores. She required assistance from her children, who helped arrange her meals and did the washing, and she could not drive for eight weeks.

The settlement

We intimated a compensation claim to Argyll and Bute Council, which was responsible for maintaining the car park and for repairing the pothole.

To understand the severity of the shoulder injury, we instructed a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to examine our client. The resultant medical report confirmed that the restricted movement caused by the injury was likely to be permanent. We sent this medical report to the defender, the insurance company acting on behalf of the Council.

The defender responded with a settlement offer of £30,000. Considering all the factors of the case, and the likelihood that there would be a finding of contributory negligence if the case proceeded to proof, we thought this was a reasonable offer.

We discussed the offer with our client, and she confirmed she wanted to accept it. The pothole accident claim was settled on 9 November 2022.

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