This is a fascinating case of a man who recovered £45,000 in a wholly unexpected way.
JR was employed as a warehouse person by a big company. In January 2004 he slipped on a patch of black ice on the forecourt of his employer’s premises. As a result of the accident JR sustained injuries to his right shoulder. These injuries required surgery and unfortunately he developed post-operative complications, including fibromyalgia.
JR instructed Brian Barr to consider a possible claim against the hospital in respect of the post-operative complications. However, this claim did not have good prospects of success. (Two Orthopaedic Surgeons later instructed both felt there had been no negligence on the part of the hospital.) However, we felt that JR might have a good claim against his employers. We argued that they had failed adequately to grit the courtyard and they were therefore responsible (at least in part) for all the consequences of JR’s fall, including the post-operative complications.
After much negotiation we managed to achieve a 75% settlement in JR’s favour on liability. This meant that JR would be able to recover 75% of his claim for damages.
The parties each instructed their own orthopaedic and rheumatological experts. The medical evidence was polarised. JR’s medical experts considered that there was a causal link between the accident and the fibromyalgia whereas the Defendants’ medical experts did not support the causal link. The Defendant’s orthopaedic surgeon even went so far as to suggest that the accident had not necessitated the need for the shoulder surgery.
The parties eventually convened a joint settlement meeting and JR managed to achieve a negotiated settlement of £45,000. He is delighted with the outcome.
This result is very gratifying for several reasons:
- JR did not actually approach our firm to consider a claim against his employers, but rather a claim against the hospital.
- The three year time limit in which to bring a claim against the employers had nearly expired when we were approached. Had our firm not acted quickly in recognising that there was a potential claim JR may well have lost the opportunity to sue his employers.
- The fibromyalgia developed following post-operative complications. This gave rise to an interesting legal question. Were the Defendants responsible for all losses that flowed from the shoulder surgery, or was the hospital treatment a supervening event that broke the “chain of causation” between the accident and the subsequent development of the fibromyalgia?
This should act as an important reminder that if you have a claim you should not delay in seeking legal advice.
The case also illustrates the importance of seeking specialist legal advice in a fibromyalgia case. A strong team of lawyers, medical experts, and a good client can achieve an excellent result.