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We have been recently representing a client in respect of injuries sustained as a result of an accident at work. Our client was employed as a Store Manager in a shop and, on the day of her accident, she tripped on an uneven floor and sustained severe injuries to her left shoulder.

She dislocated her shoulder and also fractured the top of her shoulder in several places. X-rays showed a four-part fracture-dislocation of the left humerus. As a result of her accident, she required three operations.

Our client had a claim for future loss of earnings. Our medical evidence obtained confirmed that our client was likely to experience increasing pain, further restriction of movement and greater dysfunction affecting her left shoulder and upper arm due to progressive post-traumatic gleno-humeral osteoarthritis. On the balance of probability, there was a 70% chance that she would opt for a shoulder replacement within the next 5 years.

The claimant’s injuries have affected her future employment prospects. She was disadvantaged in seeking employment on the labour market. Her left shoulder movement and functions were limited. 

Our medical expert commented that it was reasonable if our client avoided work requiring manual handling altogether, and instead sought employment that did not require lifting or carrying. We questioned whether our client would be able to find any alternative employment given her age, previous experience and the current economic climate. 

Liability was admitted by the defendant, our client's employer; however, the value of her claim was in dispute. The defendant did not agree to her claim for future loss of earnings as supported by our medical expert. They wanted to obtain their own medical evidence from an Orthopaedic Surgeon, which was agreed. The defendants, however, failed to serve their medical report by the deadline specified by a Court Order. We, therefore, made an application to Court to strike out their defence under Civil Procedure Rule 3.4(2)(C). In response to our application, the Court ordered that the defendant was debarred from relying on their expert orthopaedic evidence. They intended to make an application for relief from sanctions.

However, their difficult situation prompted them to make a reasonable offer of settlement and the matter settled out of Court for £102,500 which included compensation for our client's claim for future loss of earnings.