compo claim(21 Posts)
Back in February I slipped in a supermarket on a wet floor and badly fractured my ankle. There was no warning signs and the accident was captured on cctv. I was put in cast for 6 weeks and as my job is on my feet all day, I was unable to work for 9 weeks. I've been back at work for 3 weeks and I'm struggling with ankle pain and swelling. I've never been one for "where there's blame, there's a claim" but I was contacted by the supermarket who asked if I would be suing. Advice from friends and family was to start the ball rolling and see what happens. I got full pay as have worked for my company for 19 years but had a lot of expense from taxis to and from hospital for clinic appointments, prescriptions for pain relief, I had to buy a giant condom thing for showering and I hired a wheelchair for a week. The problem now is that I can't predict the future and at the minute I am struggling with working and being on my feet all day. I don't know if my ankle will get any better or if this is it and I'm gonna suffer with pain for the rest of my life and whether I'll have to look for a different job in the future. Yesterday I received an offer from the supermarket with advice that if I don't accept it, to seek legal advice. Obviously once solicitors are involved it's gonna start to cost money. I've been offered £3150. Do I accept this offer and give up any future right to sue for more if my ankle doesn't get any better or do I decline, involve solicitors and end up with huge solicitors fees?? I'm not greedy and am pleased with the offer but I just don't know what effect this injury may have long term.
I've been flamed on her before but here goes; get proper professional legal advice. There are plenty of good no win no fee solicitors and it's worth checking if you home or car insurance has a legal helpline as is speaking to your union or professional body if appropriate.
There may be no claim but the fact that the supermarket has made an offer means it is worth checking to ensure the offer is fair. Once an offer is accepted it tends to be in full and final settlement and as your recovery is still questionable it is worth getting advice.
OP what was the offer based on? Were you seen by a doctor who provided a report on your ankle?
The supermarket requested permission to obtain all my medical notes from the hospital, fracture clinics and my gp. They also requested receipts for expenses in connection with my injury. All copies of my medical notes were sent to me as well to confirm that everything was correct. They also requested my national insurance number and copies of my sick notes which I assume was to calculate how much income was lost due to my accident.
I'm not a lawyer but have dealing in my work with this kind of thing from the 'other side' eg the supermarket. From the info you give it does sound like you would have a viable claim if you pursued. (You have 3 years from the date of the accident in which to bring a claim so you don't actually need to make a decision yet) Companies will sometimes try and settle theses matters if possible without it becoming a formal claim - there are advantages for you and advantages for them in doing this.
As a general rule the figure proposed to 'settle' the matter without bringing it as a claim is somewhere in the middle of the potential for compensation- there is basically a tariff used which is a range of what every type of injury is worth eg a particular type of injury could be awared between £100-£3k so they offer you 1k
Oops posted a bit quick....
The advantage for you is that it's dealt with quickly and of course there is no guarantee you would actually get as much (or anything) if you took it forward as a claim etc - you could get awarded more or less. That's the gamble for both you and the company in some ways. Best thing to do is get some proper legal advice and decide what is best for you
I'm really uncomfortable with the whole blame culture these days. In the press a few months ago was a woman suing for 4 million for a wrist injury that might affect her future earnings!! She'd tripped over a chain between two posts in a pub garden! Now my potential earnings are nowhere near to 4 million (sadly!) but I am questioning whether my ankle will ever be up to me standing and running around like a loon all day again and that is what my job involves. Work have been unbelievably accommodating and have let me sit down when the pain has got bad but I feel like a burden to them and it can't continue long term. So that is my dilemma. Without access to a crystal ball I don't know if my ankle is going to improve whilst I'm having to be on it so much and if it is going to affect me long term then do I seek legal advice and maybe claim more? Or not get anything??
Definitely speak to a solicitor as you do have a claim for pain and suffering as well as out of pocket expenses (special damages). They need to compensate fully for the injury so if pain is ongoing you would need a medical expert to examine you to estimate how long they think it will take to make a full recovery.
General guidelines for an ankle fracture that fully recovers within a year should be around £3000 - £3600. This is just for injury not out of pocket expenses. If the supermarket have offered something close to this then I would discuss with a solicitor and consider accepting, as since May 2013 the new guidelines for solicitors costs means that most firms will now take 25% of damages awarded to pay their costs. So if you go via a solicitor and they offer £3700 for example you would only get £2775.
If you visit this site you can see the guidelines for injury damages.
So you never even saw a doctor instructed by the supermarket ins co? That doesn't sound right at all.
It's still early on to know how well you'll recover long term. There should be a prognosis period given by a medical doctor who has specific knowledge/experience of this type of injury. I'm surprised you weren't asked to attend a medical examination.
You can ask for an interim payment of your financial losses & leave the injury offer until you seek legal advice. If you. Check with your household ins cover to see if you have any legal cover, maybe you have it from union membership? You won't have to pay the legal costs, the ins co who made the offer would have to meet that cost if you do appoint sols to deal with this for you.
Def get legal advice, you might well be having a normal recovery (my mum has broken both ankles & is only just past the 12mth mark, she's been told it could take up to 18 mths for as complete a recovery as she can hope for so she's also still in pain daily etc.) but you'll not know for certain unless an appropriately qualified doctor has examined you, asked you questions about your recovery so far and ongoing symptoms & given an opinion on how this is likely to affect you long term (future employment prospects is something you can also be compensated for too, if appropriate).
No, not seen a doctor instructed by the supermarket. They just asked for permission for my medical notes which I gave. I was told that big companies like to make an offer within 90 days of the accident and that period is up on the 17th May. I'd literally just hopped back through the door after visiting a&e when the area manager was on the phone asking how I was and if I was going to claim. I'd been in a cast about an hour! I said at the time that it would be a consideration as I had already had to pay for 2 prescriptions and hospital car parking and my partner had left work early to look after me so he'd lost wages too. Then about 2 days later I had all the forms through and it just went from there.
There are timescales in the MOJ (minister of justice) process that claims follow but you do not have to be stuck with them - it's designed to get people's claims settled quickly where appropriate but I don't think it's appropriate in your case. You aren't yet fully recovered & you won't know when that's likely to happen if they haven't even had you seem by a doctor who can tell you when that will be!
I think you should get advice & at the very least a specialist see you/examine your ankle & xrays etc to give an idea as to when you are likely to recover. If you are concerned about long term impact, you are best waiting til the end of a prognosis period to ensure you do recover as predicted & there aren't any issues/delays/complications which then impact your long term employability.
If the accident only happened in February then now really is too soon to be thinking about settling a claim. You have no idea how your injury will fare in the next 12 months or beyond. If you accepted their offer as final now, you would have no further claim should your injury persist in any way.
Seek legal advice. You could (I believe) accept the amount but leave the claim "open" in the event of the recovery not being straightforward as such. Personally I'd tell them that you're going to see how your recovery goes first and then you'll decide.
By the by, the lady with the wrist injury might not be far off depending on her age and what she does for a living. A damaged wrist can be an awful injury. I know, as my husband has suffered with one for the last two years.
Thank you plectrumelectrum. I honestly have no idea of the process and do feel a bit rushed in to making a decision and not sure what to do for the best. I think I will get some legal advice and go from there. If I accept the offer then I have nowhere to stand in say a years time if I've had to give up my job due to my ankle injury. I never thought I'd be in a situation like this
I would settle for that. You have had full sick pay and free NHS care. You're only out of pocket for a few taxi fares and if you take it you'll save a shit load on solicitors.
I don't think you can legally do what Shakey says because the point of settling the claim is that you have then accepted that as settlement for the incident. There's no "I'll take this now, thank you very much, and then maybe I'll be back a bit later for some more"! The reason they're offering you anything at all is to remove the risk of them having to pay something later.
No court will award you anything for possible future complications which my never happen.
A quick look on t'interweb about provisional damages-
*These are Damages awarded on the basis that some foreseeable serious medical deterioration or fresh but foreseeable condition does not come about, whilst leaving open the chance for the Claimant to go back to Court and seek more compensation at a later date if that feared deterioration/condition does then come about.
In other words, it allows a Claimant to settle the Claim, but leaves the door open for them to go back to seek more compensation if some feared deterioration/condition later arises as a result of the original accident.*
Snooze the OP has no way of knowing at present what complications may arise from the injury in the future. It'll be no good settling for 3k then a year or so later find that the damage is permanent and she is unable to continue working in her role.
Speak to a no win no fee lawyer. I did when I got trapped in a building fire. You will likely see a private doctor for assessment and obviously the lawyer will be able to advise you better than us.
Don't accept it, never accept the first offer. They are trying their luck and hoping you accept it. This tells me you can get a lot more. If your ankle is that bad it will effect you for the rest of your life, restricting what you can and can't do also you may have to leave your job.
Don't rush into anything get some good advice. A lot of these no win no fee companies get the other side to pay their fees when you win so you get the full amount.
Good luck and
Just one other thing to check - in my contract at work it says something about if I'm off work sick and can/do get compensation, I have to include a claim for the sick pay and reimburse my company. So worth checking OP. Good luck
You don't need to use a solicitor and they take a massive chunk. £1200 in my case which was only worth £3000. I hoped to get my travel costs of over £750 in taxis back but that ended up being included in the claim which was a bit rubbish.
You need a medical report and a proper prognosis ie how long it will take you to fully recover, or if you are likely to have permanent symptoms, how severe they will be, whether there is a risk of future complications (arthritis in the joint, future deterioration etc. Your medical notes will not tell you this.
Look for a solicitor. They are now entitled, depending on the terms of instruction, to take a percentage of your damages. Even so, if your claim is (as seems likely) worth a fair bit more than 3k, you will still be better off.
I went back to work when my DD1 was just 8 weeks old. I was very silly and didn't claim MA and got to a point where we needed the money and as I was self employed, I would only get paid when I worked.
First day back at work and I was attacked by a service user (I worked in care). He attacked me on my right side, I buckled and it caused severe damage to my spine. I went through a solicitor who was supposed to be one of the best in the area. My clients admitted liability but their insurance company denied liability and refused to pay. In the mean time, we went down to one wage where DH was also self employed and I had another baby (2 years later), also, I was not able to work as the pain was getting really bad with numbing arms, legs etc..... Forward to year 3 and they still denied liability. Due to them denying liability, they would not pay for an MRI scan and I was unable to get one on the NHS. Due to this, there was no medical evidence to suggest I was actually injured and I was sent to a psychologist who quizzed me to suggest I was imagining the pain!!!
We pushed ahead with the courts and exactly 3 years after the assault, the other side paid my expenses.
About 6 months later, I was still in pain so my GP sent me for an MRI scan. It showed severe damage to the top of my spine (c4-c7) and it is getting progressively worse! I now have MRI scans every 2 years to keep an eye on it and I am on very strong pain killers that only take the edge off on bad days. I drove into a hole the other day and it has triggered severe pain in my spine again...... it is a nightmare injury!
I can't claim against the other side any more as it was full and final settlement. They never admitted liability, they paid me off to stop me going to court. I wish I wasn't so desperate for the money and waited for court, the judge would have ordered an MRI scan and I would have got costs for life. Unfortunately I was told there was nothing wrong with me but now I'm pretty screwed. So glad DH has a good job now.
You won't be able to get everything you are entitled to without a solicitor. They don't take your money, they send their invoice to the defendant and it gets added to your claim. I can recommend a really good solicitor if you like (not the one I used for this but he has done some other work for me and is a PI specialist).
Join the discussion
Please login first.