We acted for a man who was injured whilst working for a construction company at part of the former British Steel site. He was working on a multi-storey building which was in the course of demolition. In the course of the demolition work, one of the other contractors who was working on site, had for some reason, covered up a hole in the concrete floor with a plastic membrane and then covered that with a layer of self-levelling concrete which was only about ½ inch thick. There were several of these holes which had been covered in this way and were clearly structurally very weak. It was never actually explained why this contractor had done this, but the effect was to leave the impression that the area was covered with a uniform concrete floor which was clearly safe to walk on. Our client walked across the floor, stepped on the area which had been covered and promptly fell through it, as it gave way as he walked across it. He then fell through the floor for approximately 30 feet and landed upon a pile of rubble which was being cleared on the floor beneath. He suffered serious injuries to his legs and back and lay amongst the rubble unable to move. It was at this point that he realised that the rubble was being cleared by a huge JCB type digger which was shovelling up all the rubble and dumping it in a lorry which would then take it away to be crushed. At this point, the client became terrified that he would be scooped up with the rubble, loaded into the wagon and taken away to be crushed with the rest of the concrete rubble. He had already suffered significant injuries to his leg and back, was unable to move, and in addition to this suffered serious psychiatric injuries, as he feared for his life.
Establishing liability was not straight forward, as it was necessary to identify the contractors responsible, who inevitably each blamed each other. Eventually we managed to persuade the various insurers for the various potential Defendants to get together and accept liability, following the issue of proceedings.
The value of the claim itself was extremely difficult to quantify as the claim involved serious Orthopaedic and Psychiatric injuries. The client suffered significant mobility issues. He was effectively unable to walk properly, or climb stairs. He had become doubly incontinent and suffered serious psychiatric injuries. He required intensive rehabilitation, physiotherapy, psychiatric counselling, and a whole host of various carers to help him re-build a shattered life. In addition to organising all these Agencies it was necessary to investigate thoroughly all the various financial support that he needed, not only to enable him to start to put his life back together in the present, but also for the future.
He required alterations to his home, a new vehicle, together with all sorts of mechanical aids to enable him to rebuild his life. The claim took over 5 years before we were able to negotiate settlement, as we had to allow sufficient time for him to recover to the extent where the medical experts were able to give an accurate prognosis and we were able to properly gauge his future losses, needs and requirements. The claim settled for well over a million pounds and the financial settlement enabled him to re-build his life and face the future with some financial security and confidence.
Achieving a settlement was not just about achieving the maximum possible financial compensation, but it was also important, indeed essential, we were able to guide him through the litigation process, providing all the necessary support and guidance throughout which was a difficult and sometimes confusing process for him. It was not just about the money, although that clearly was important and indeed essential to enable him to rebuild his life and move on.