Home Support Worker Injury Case Study

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Our work injury solicitor team was contacted by a 55-year-old-woman in November 2016 via her union, UNISON. The claim was in relation to shoulder injuries she had sustained in an accident which had occurred on 6 May 2016 while she was working as a home support worker for North Lanarkshire Council.

The background

At approximately 9.30am, two hours into a ten-and-a-half-hour shift, the client was assisting a service user by helping her move from a commode to a Zimmer frame.

However, in making the transition, the service user lost her balance and fell back onto the commode. At the time, our client's left arm had been placed behind the service user to help her stand and during the fall became wrenched, causing an injury to our client's left shoulder.

Although our client tried to continue with her shift, even moving on to her next appointment with a service user, she quickly realised she was in too much pain to continue working. As such, she went home and notified her duty manager of the workplace accident. By 2pm that afternoon her pain was so acute that her husband had to drive her to hospital where an MRI scan was performed. Doctors diagnosed that the home support worker had suffered two torn shoulder ligaments.

Furthermore, later medical exams showed that the incident had aggravated a previous shoulder injury; the claimant had been fitted with a metal plate in her shoulder in 2014 and the accident had caused this to shift. As a result, the metal plate needed to be removed but could not be refitted; this means that the woman now has a fragile shoulder that is at risk of being fractured.

The settlement

After being instructed by the client, Thompsons intimated a claim and the employers immediately admitted liability. However, after we provided them with medical evidence, their solicitors made no offer of settlement. We therefore raised Court proceedings in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court.

An expert medical report, provided by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, confirmed that the client had sustained a wrenching injury and this had left her with neuropathic pain. A further report from a consultant psychiatrist confirmed that the member was suffering from a psychiatric injury caused by her chronic pain.

The client rejected an initial offer of £2,000 compensation as well as a subsequent £8,000 offer that was put forward at the pre-trial meeting. Following the pre-trial meeting a new tender of £12,000 was put forward. Our work injury solicitors advised the client that, given difficulties in establishing that her neuropathic pain was caused by her accident rather than the removal of the metal plate, we advised her that it was a reasonable course of action to accept the £12,000 offer. She did so on 2 August 2019.

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