Mr S was loading a flat bed truck with old wood whilst stood on top. Whilst his work colleague was pushing a large piece of wood onto the truck it pushed Mr S backwards, causing him to fall and impale his left arm on a metal spike belonging to a gate which had been left on the vehicle. As a result of this fall Mr S suffered a puncture wound to the left biceps leaving a one inch scar.
Mr S wanted to claim for personal injury compensation and found Hayward Baker Personal Injury Solicitors via an internet search. Once he had contacted Hayward Baker and a member of their legal team explained in easy to understand terms how a personal injury claim is run, he signed the relevant paper work for Hayward Baker Solicitors to act on his behalf and pursue his claim for personal injury compensation.
Once Hayward Baker had received the signed paperwork back they wrote to Mr S attaching a copy of his signed Conditional Fee Agreement and explained what was to happen next. Mr S was reminded that as the estimated value of his claim was below £25,000.00 that his claim is running under a scheme known as the “Pre-action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims. In accordance with this scheme his solicitor had sent a Claims notification Form to the other party. This form provides the other party with all the necessary information to enable them to consider Mr S’s claim, in particular detailed allegations confirming why it is believed they are to blame. The allegations were as follows:
You failed to carry out any, or any suitable or sufficient assessment of the risks presented to our client during the course of his employment with yourselves. A risk assessment should have identified the risk of our client being injured when loading the flat bed tuck.
Having identified the risk you should have taken steps to remove the risk. For instance you could have ensured that our client and his colleagues were adequately trained on how to load the truck and that they were trained not to leave dangerous items on the truck from previous jobs.
Additionally/alternatively, as our client?s employer, you have a common law duty to take reasonable care for the safety of our client, your employee. This includes providing safe plant, a proper system of work, adequate materials, competent staff and adequate supervision. You failed to provide these and as such are negligent in law.
By failing to take the above steps and/or comply with your common law duty of care you have exposed our client to an unnecessary risk of injury and as a result, our client has now been injured.
Alternatively, we hold you vicariously responsible for the negligent acts of your employee who pushed the piece of wood up onto the truck with so much force that it caused our client to fall backwards and for leaving dangerous materials on the truck when it was unsafe to do so.
The other party now had 30 working days to respond to the form. If the other party fails to respond within the time limit, denies liability, alleges that the claim is worth less than £1,000.00 or makes an admission of liability with an allegation of contributory negligence (argument that Mr S is partially responsible), then his claim will exit this scheme. If this occurs his solicitor will notify him at that stage advising him how best to proceed with his claim.
If the other party admits liability for the accident, within the time limit, then Mr S’s claim will proceed under the above scheme and the next step will be to obtain medical evidence to substantiate the injuries that he sustained in the accident.
The medical evidence will enable his solicitor to demonstrate those injuries that he sustained in the accident and also mentioned that it would be helpful if he could provide Hayward Baker with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. He was therefore asked to confirm the following:
- does he still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident,
- if so, what are these symptoms,
- is he still having treatment at hospital or with his GP
- is he still taking medication
Mr S was previously given a copy of Hayward Baker Solicitors Out of Pocket Expenses Questionnaire. He was asked to return this to his solicitor. If his financial losses are ongoing it was suggested that he keep a note of any such expenditure such as travelling expenses, prescription charges, damaged clothing etc along with any receipts. He was asked to pass this information to his solicitor as soon as possible since a delay in providing this information could delay his claim.
In order to comply with the “Pre-action Protocol for Low Value Personal injury Claims” the other party are supposed to acknowledge the claim within 24 hours. They had failed to do so and Hayward Baker informed them that as they had failed to acknowledge the claim or provide them with details of their insurers and pass the claims notification form to their insurers they were given notice that they now have a period of 30 working days to respond to the claim. Should they fail to respond within this time scale the claim will leave the “Pre-action Protocol for Low Value personal injury Claims”. Mr S’s Solicitor would discuss what this would mean should it be necessary.
Within the 30 day period the insurers for the other party acknowledged the claim and had also confirmed that liability was not in dispute. This meant that provided that the medical report confirms Mr S was injured as a result of the accident, the other party agreed to pay him compensation, and his solicitor will of course discuss with him the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
Mr S’s solicitor now took steps to arrange for him to be examined by a medical expert. The medical evidence will enable them to demonstrate those injuries that he sustained in the accident and asked if Mr S could provide them with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. He was asked to confirm the following:
- Does he still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident?
- If so, what are those symptoms?
- Is he still having treatment at the hospital or with his GP?
- Is he still taking any medication?
When his solicitor receives a response, they will be better placed to assess when it would be the appropriate time to arrange the appointment.
Mr S confirmed in writing that he no longer suffered any symptoms and was taking no medication. His solicitor arranged for him to be examined by a medical expert which in this case was a general Practitioner. In the meantime Mr S’s solicitor updated his out of pocket expenses schedule.
Mr S attended the medical appointment and the report arrived on his solicitors desk, within the report the medical expert had stated that the injuries Mr sustained were as a result of the accident. The report was then sent to Mr S with an accompanying letter from his solicitor who asked if he could have photographs of the scar on his left arm.
Mr S’s solicitor had also valued the claim on the basis of the medical report and informed Mr S that his claim is worth between £1500.00 to £1900.00 for his pain and suffering and between £15.00 to £30.00 for his out of pocket expenses covering the letters and telephone calls that were necessary as part of his claim.
Mr S’s solicitor recommended that they make a formal offer to settle for £3,000.00 and if this was not accepted by the insurers then to settle for a figure of no less than £1,500.00. Should his solicitor not be able to persuade the insurers to accept this offer to settle for at least this amount then they would have to consider issuing proceedings and let a judge decide on the value of compensation to be awarded.
If Mr S was happy with the above then he was asked to sign and return the enclosed authority form and his solicitor would proceed.
Mr S did agree and his solicitor put forward the offer of £3,000.00 but a counter offer was made by the insurers of £2,000.00 which Hayward Baker counter offered with an offer of £2,500.00. The claim finally settled at £2,180.00.