Primary School Employee Trapped in School Lift Suffers Psychological Injury

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Our client was referred to us by her union, UNISON. Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland represented the employee in her claim against City of Edinburgh Council for whom she worked as a pupil support assistant in a primary school in the south of Edinburgh.

The background

Our client had been carrying out her usual working duties on the day of the incident in April 2018. She was aged 60 at the time and suffering from lupus. She had taken the school lift to go up one floor so that she could transport a shredder to a cupboard upstairs.

Initially, the lift moved but then stopped. The doors remained closed. Our client pressed the lift buttons again, but nothing happened. After a few moments our client realised the lift was stuck. She pressed the Emergency Call button and a colleague came to the lift intercom. She summoned help.

Our client was trapped in the lift for approximately an hour and during this time she suffered panic and extreme anxiety.

The consequences

The day after the incident, our client went to her GP who sent her to hospital for tests. Our client was diagnosed as having suffered an exacerbation of chronic depressive disorder with anxiety features, the symptoms of which would be likely to last for some time after the incident.

As a result of the incident at her place of work, our client retired early due to the psychological trauma she suffered while trapped in the lift.

The settlement

Liability was admitted by City of Edinburgh council.

Thompsons personal injury solicitors sought the expert opinion of a psychiatric specialist who required a further assessment of our client after nine to 12 months in order to form a firm opinion of her psychological injuries. We sought an interim compensation amount of £10,000 from the defender which was refused.

The defender then made an offer in the sum of £10,000 as full and final settlement. This was refused by our client as Thompsons personal injury solicitors felt it necessary to claim for future losses including loss of earnings and moderate pension loss.

We proceeded to raise a court action on behalf our client. At this point the admission of liability was withdrawn and we were therefore required to instruct a liability report.

Eventually, our client was pleased to receive a psychological injury claim settlement of £80,000.

Settlement was agreed on 28th June 2021.

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