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A Cumbernauld woman who suffered a serious hand injury at work was today (Thurs May 19) awarded £150,000 compensation by a jury at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Noreen Carmichael (34) lost parts of four fingers while working on an unguarded moving machine at Isola Werke in 2000. She subsequently lost her job and suffers severe restriction of use of her dominant right hand.

The electronics firm were convicted of contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £12,500 at Airdrie Sheriff Court in March 2001.

Mrs Carmichael then raised a civil action against her former employers through Thompsons Solicitors, Scotland’s largest specialist personal injury solicitors.

Following a three day hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in front of Lord Bracadale and a 12 strong jury she was awarded £150,000.

The amount of compensation significantly exceeds what she might have expected if the case had only been heard by a Judge as they have to be guided by case authority. In jury trials case authority does not prevail and it is up to the jurors themselves to decide how much someone’s pain and suffering is worth.

Mrs Carmichael was represented by Glen Millar, solicitor advocate in Thompsons Edinburgh office.

Speaking after the case he said: “I am delighted for Mrs Carmichael. The jury award is another indication that ordinary members of the public think the courts hands are unjustly tied when it comes to putting a monetary value on someone’s compensation.

“This is something that the Courts themselves have recognised in recent decisions and there have now been several instances of juries awarding sums significantly more than a Judge would be able to.”

Mrs Carmichael, who is now employed as a carer said: “I’m obviously pleased with the jury’s decision. They have recognised the amount of pain and suffering I had. It has taken a long time to get this matter settled and I’m glad it is now over.”

Mrs Carmichael was backed in her legal action by her trade union Amicus. John Quigley of Amicus said after the verdict was announced: “This is an outstanding result and a vindication of the trade union’s long standing legal assistance scheme which is free to members at the point of need.”

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