Mr M had purchased a sack truck from a store in Wales. After purchase Mr M took the truck home and attempted to inflate the tyres as per the instruction manual prior to use. However although the instructions stated that the tyres should be inflated to 30 psi Mr M had only reached 24 psi when one of the wheel rims failed by splitting forcing the wheel over the retainer nuts and into Mr M’s hand causing him personal injury to his face, blunt injury to right thumb and right hand.
Hayward Baker Solicitors were instructed by Mr M to pursue his claim for injury compensation from the store where Mr M purchased the sack truck. However the store may at some stage redirect the claim to the suppliers or importers of the product but it is customary in the sale of goods/consumer cases for the claim to be initially directed against the store that supplied the product in question.
A letter was subsequently received from the stores insurers and it stated that they would now investigate the incident. During this time period Mr M’s solicitor obtained his medical records as this would be used in evidence to support his claim and at a future date will be sent to a medical consultant who would examine Mr M and formulate a report upon his injuries, this report would also be used to support his claim and would aid his solicitor in valuing the claim for compensation.
Hayward Baker chased the insurers for a response on liability by telephone as the time limit for the investigation period had now lapsed. Later that day an email was received from the stores insurers stating that they only sold the product and had no previous complaints or records of faults with the sack truck and that liability was passed to the importers of the product.
Further investigation was made by Mr M and his solicitor and they found that the truck was on recall for being defective in the United states. Mr M had since gone to the same store and purchased the same sack truck and he asked the salesman whether or not the tyres should be inflated to 30 psi. His answer was no way as they had had two rims blow up in their storeroom once where the tyre had shredded and one where the wheel had shattered. The salesman would swear in court that the trucks should not be inflated to the pressure stated in the instructions and it was part of his job to advise customers never to do this and only inflate to 8 psi.
While the importer/supplier of the trucks insurers were investigating the incident Mr M attended a medical appointment with a GP Consultant who formulated a report on his injuries. the report showed that the injuries sustained were consistent with the accident and the consultant stated that the facial injuries would have healed within one one month of the incident, the right hand injury would have resolved 2 months post accident but the thumb injury was more severe and it was estimated that it would not fully heal until 18 months following index accident. A course of physiotherapy was recommended with a hand therapist to improve thumb mobilisation and help progress of recovery for the hand and thumb.
The second defendant (the supplier) insurers had now stated that they had agreed to pay costs and damages on behalf of the first defendant the store owner. However Mr M’s solicitor replied that our course of action would still be to pursue the store owner and that their offer to pay would only be viable if the store accepts full liability as the truck was now known to be used by the store as a demo model and looked like it had previously been used and the seller was responsible for selling the faulty goods.
Hayward Baker now drafted a schedule of Mr M’s out of pocket expenses due to the accident. These were to include travel, care and assistance around the home where Mr M relied upon family and friends to undertake some of his domestic chores while his injuries recovered, physiotherapy treatment and other costs to cover phone calls and postage.
Once the schedule and medical report was approved by Mr M his Solicitor invited the first defendant insurers to make an offer in settlement of the claim.
Numerous telephone call were made by Mr M’s solicitor chasing the insurers for an offer and a number of letters. Eventually the insurers replied and stated that the 2nd defendant insurers would be taking over the claim.
Mr M had now contacted Hayward Baker having had some physiotherapy and said that his hand was getting worse not better. His solicitor took the decision now to obtain updated medical records and arrange a further medical examination.
The second defendants had now completed their investigations and had a report stating that whilst the sack truck wheels were under inflated when the accident occurred the condition of the same showed scuff marks, wear an tear and also rust and more importantly that the tread of the tyres was worn and not at all new. The report also stated that the wheels were not the ones originally supplied with their trucks. A copy of this report was of course sent to the first defendant insurers. So we are now back in the position we were at the start when Hayward baker suggested that the claim should remain with the first defendant insurers as they were to blame for supplying faulty goods.
It had now transpired that the salesman in the store when the second truck was purchased was lying about two of their trolleys blowing up and should he now attend court his boss said he would be committing perjury.
A letter was received from the first defendant insurers stating that their position had not changed and liability was still denied as no evidence had been provided to alter their stance. They insisted that the amount of air pressure to shatter the wheel would have to be in excess of 80 – 90 psi.
The second medical examination had now taken place and the report stated that the the thumb would now take 24 months to heal post accident. Mr M stated that he had not been able to ride his horse or walk his dog for six months due to his thumb injury.
The first defendant insurers had also been back in contact and stated that their stance still had not changed that their insured had no reason to be aware of the product recall in the USA as this was different country and that the truck tyres had been over inflated by Mr M and the product was not defective.
Mr M’s solicitor now had to issue court proceedings as the limitation period had nearly expired in which Mr M had to make his claim, which was 3 years since the date of the accident. Hayward Baker had to take this course of action to protect their client as should they issue court proceedings after this date they would have been to late.
Hayward Baker had now also instructed a Barrister to advise on liability.
The store at which the truck was purchased had now dissolved and the Hayward Baker needed to make an application to the companies court to reinstate the company name.
The Barrister was informed of the changes and was instructed to draft a particulars of claim for the court which sets out in details the circumstances of the whole case. It was at this point that the defendant insurers had nominated solicitors to act on their behalf in court.
Particulars of claim had now been received and sent to Mr M for approval which he did after some minor changes.
A day later Proceedings were served on the defendant solicitors.
An addendum to the previous medical report had now been requested as Mr M had undergone an MRI scan of his thumb. The report stated that the ongoing problems with the thumb are due to degenerative changes in the joints.
Defendants Solicitors still deny liability and have been sent updated medical report.
The trial window (likely date of court hearing) is close and the defendant solicitors make an offer in settlement for £5000.00 so it seems Hayward Bakers persistence and experience have paid off for Mr M.
The offer was accepted and the Trial Window vacated (cancelled).
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