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Boyes Turner personal injury team were instructed on behalf of the claimant, Mr J* in a claim for compensation for personal injuries sustained following an accident at work.

Mr J was employed by the defendant as a telecoms engineer. He and a colleague were tasked with removing a telecoms cabinet from the upper floor of a building. The cabinet weighed approximately 140kg and was too large to fit in the lift.

Unfortunately, Mr J sustained a head injury in the accident which occurred whilst trying to move the cabinet and did not remember how it happened. What he did know was that a week or so previously he had attended the same premises with a view to removing the same cabinet but phoned his line manager to advise that he could not as it was too large to fit in the lift, it was unsafe to slide/carry down the marble stairs and the appropriate equipment required to take it down the stairs, a stair climber, was not available. He therefore refused to move the cabinet.

Nevertheless, on the day of the accident, it appears that Mr J and his colleague did attempt to manually slide the cabinet down the stairs, with Mr J holding the bottom and walking backwards down the stairs. His colleague lost his grip on the cabinet which then collided with Mr J causing him to fall and hit his head, sustaining serious injury.

This was a difficult case from the beginning as Mr J had no memory of how the accident happened or indeed why he agreed to carry out a manoeuvre which a few days previously he had deemed unsafe. Nevertheless, given the severity of his injuries, we agreed to investigate.

The defendant failed to comply with the Pre-action protocol and did not disclose relevant documentation, despite a denial of liability. They alleged that the accident was Mr J's fault, that he had tripped and fallen rather than been knocked down by the cabinet, which only fell due to him losing his grip on it.

We therefore made an application to court for pre-action disclosure. A few days prior to the hearing the defendant disclosed documentation which showed that there was no detailed risk assessment, no proper training given and discrepancies in the evidence of their main witness and colleague who was assisting Mr J at the time of the accident. Their witness confirmed that it was his decision to slide the cabinet down the stairs as he felt uncomfortable using the stairwalker due to inadequate training. He further confirmed that he lost his grip on the cabinet which then collided with Mr J.

Nevertheless the defendant continued to deny liability. We instructed counsel to advise and prepare particulars. The initial barrister instructed would not take the case on a conditional fee basis, advising that the prospects of success were below 50%. We instructed a second barrister who agreed to deal on a CFA basis, advising that the prospects of success were around 60% but with a likely significant finding of contributory negligence – around 50%.

We therefore obtained medical evidence from a neurologist and neuropsychologist who confirmed that Mr J had sustained a moderate head injury and was unlikely to return to paid employment. We issued proceedings and the defendant maintained their denial of liability. They made a nuisance offer to settle of £5,000 which the first barrister advised the client to accept, but which he rejected on our advice. The claim as quantified by Boyes Turner on a full liability basis was approximately £300,000.

Following a without prejudice meeting with the defendant solicitors (without counsel), a settlement was reached (without admission of liability) and the defendants paid the sum of £188,817 to Mr J for his injuries.

* All names have been changed to protect client privacy. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury after an accident then contact our specialist personal injury team on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com.