Mrs G.L. of Norwich was a carer who was involved in two lifting incidents at work in June and September 2004. The incidents, at first glance, appeared to be innocuous, but within 6 months of the second accident she had been diagnosed with the widespread chronic pain condition Fibromyalgia. She was in a lot of pain, needing extensive care and assistance and unable to work. She instructed Brian Barr who immediately examined some really difficult legal issues.
Proving liability was extraordinarily complicated. It was not clear who was responsible for her injuries. She had, at the time of the accident, been working as a carer for a lady who was in receipt of direct payments. This was to enable her to employ and pay for a carer. The Local Authority were responsible for providing the lifting equipment required and a local charitable organisation was responsible for facilitating her employment.
Ordinarily, the lady for whom she was providing care would have been G.L’s employer, but she had no insurance and was not worth suing. We discovered that equipment, which could have been provided by the Local Authority, and which might have prevented the accidents, was not provided. There were also arguments that she was partly responsible herself.
Liability was resolved against the Local Authority , after a long fight, on a 70/30 basis in favour of G.L. The parties proceeded to quantify the claim. The evidence we obtained indicated that her condition had arisen solely as a result of the accidents. She was severely disabled and would remain so for the remainder of her life. G.L.was unlikely ever to return to work and would require extensive care and assistance to provide her with some quality of life. She also needed new accommodation as her home was unsuitable for her needs.
G.L’s case was due to go to trial to fix the damages in November 2011. Shortly before the trial, the Local Authority, who had previously been representing themselves, instructed solicitors who took the view that they needed further evidence. They were subsequently allowed to obtain evidence from experts in rheumatology, orthopaedics, care and accommodation.
The matter was re-listed for trial in November 2012 but in a joint settlement meeting earlier that month, agreement was reached between the parties for the claim to be settled in the sum of £2.14 million gross, £1.5 million net (after the 30% reduction for liability.)
Lyndsey Ryan, solicitor for G.L. at Brian Barr, said “I am absolutely delighted that G.L’s case has settled at a level which means that she will be able to provide fully for her future. G.L. has had an awful time since the accident coming to terms with her condition and the impact it has had on her life. She is now in a position where she will be able to use her compensation to obtain the best treatment available to help manage her condition and obtain accommodation that will properly meet her needs. She will hopefully have a much better quality of life from now on. I know that this has made a real difference”.
G.L. said ” it is such a relief to have the case finally brought to such a successful conclusion. It has been a really difficult period for me, but the professionalism and understanding shown by all at Brian Barr, and particularly Lyndsey, has really helped me and kept me going. I am looking forward to focusing on my future with a home I can enjoy and the treatment to hopefully help me to manage my condition better.”
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