Mr T was cleaning a chocolate machine at his place of work when he hit his head on part of the machinery and as a result suffered a laceration injury to his head. Mr T received first aid treatment at his place of work and also reported the incident so it was recorded in the accident book. Following the incident his employers carried out a workplace risk assessment and in future staff were provided with protective head gear.
Mr T wanted to claim compensation for his injury so searched the internet for a Personal Injury Solicitors and came across Hayward Baker Personal Injury Solicitors who he called to enquire whether he had a case or not.
After speaking with one of Hayward Bakers Personal Injury experts Mr T decided he would like them to act for him in his claim personal injury compensation. Mr T explained the accident circumstances to Hayward Bakers Legal Team and they said that they would be happy to take on his case. They then went on to explain fully how a personal injury claim works and what is involved in terms Mr T could easily understand.
Once his solicitor had received Mr T’s signed paperwork they wrote to him and explained what the next steps were. As the current value of the claim was under £25,000.00 he was informed that the claim would be running under a scheme known as the “Pre-action Protocol for low value personal injury claims”.
In accordance with the scheme his solicitor at Hayward Baker sent the Claims notification Form (CNF) to the other party which is Mr T’s employer and asked that they also confirm their insurers details.. The other party now had 15 days to respond to the form. Should the other party fail 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 T 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.
The allegations made to the other party were:
The reason why we are alleging fault is that you, your servants and/or agents were negligent and/or in breach of your statutory duty in:
a) Failing to carry out any or any sufficient risk assessment under reg. 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. Had you done so the risk of employees hitting their heads on the machinary would have been identified and addressed accordingly.
b) Failing to ensure that our client was provided with suitable personal protective equipment contrary to reg.4(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations or at all.
c) Failing to ensure that the workplace was safe, and particularly that the sharp edges of machinery were covered, contrary to the Workplace Regulations.
d) Failing to provide adequate training and instruction.
e) Exposing our client to a risk of damage or injury to which you knew or ought to have known.
e) Failing to discharge your common duty of care to see that our client was reasonably safe in using the premises, contrary to s.2 of the Occupiers Liability Act.
f) In the circumstances, failing to devise, institute or operate a safe system of work for our client.
The CNF was acknowledged within 3 days and the insurers details were confirmed they then carried out their investigation into the accident. Four weeks later they contacted Hayward Baker solicitors and stated that liability was admitted.
This means that provided that the medical report confirms Mr T was injured as a result of the accident, they have agreed to pay him compensation, and his solicitors will of course discuss with him the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
Mr T’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 T could provide them with a written update in relation to his current symptoms.
Once they have his response response, his solicitors will be better placed to assess whether it is the appropriate time to arrange the appointment.
After Mr T had been in touch about his current symptoms his solicitors confirmed that they were now in a position to obtain a report upon his injuries.
Mr T was asked , when he receives an appointment letter he realises he has previously seen the Doctor for treatment either on the NHS or privately, he was to let his solicitors know immediately. They may need to cancel the appointment as it might not be appropriate for a Doctor who has previously treated him to author the medical report.
Mr T subsequently attended the medical examination and the report was received by Hayward baker who reviewed the report and wrote to Mr t enclosing a copy of the report and his draft out of pocket expenses schedule (Special Damages Schedule).
Mr T was asked to check the content of the medical experts report carefully to make sure that all factual points, upon which the report is based, are correct. He was asked to let his solicitor know if there are any inaccuracies as once the report has been approved there will be no opportunity to make any further amendments.
If he is satisfied that the report is accurate and includes all matters that that he wishes to be considered or he can confirm any specific reasons why the report should not be approved he was asked to complete the enclosed confirmation accordingly and then sign and return this to his solicitor.
He was asked to note that the medical expert advises that he sustained a laceration which healed in 2 weeks and Mr T suffered concussion for 3 months.
Value of the Claim
Mr T’s solicitor had the opportunity to assess what they consider to be the appropriate level of compensation for pain and suffering, based on the medical report. Compensation is assessed under two main heads:-
- Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity (General Damages)
The court will award compensation to reflect pain, suffering and loss of amenity resulting from the injuries. The award of compensation under this main head is sometimes termed ‘general damages’.
The assessment of compensation by the court will be made, to a large extent, on the medical evidence. That assessment will be based on this individual case, as each claim is unique. Nevertheless, some guidance on the appropriate level of compensation can be obtained from previous cases and that enables an estimate to be made of the likely award if the matter had to be decided by the court.
Valuing a claim is not an exact science. It is not possible to predict what Mr T might be awarded by a particular Judge on a particular day. However, it is possible to make a reasonable assessment of the likely value of the claim.
Having reviewed the medical report, researched previous case law and also looked at the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines which are the official guidelines the courts use to value claims for injury. His solicitor considers the court would be likely to award damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in the region of £1,500 to £1,800.
- Expenses and Financial Loss (Special Damages)
The court will also assess compensation for quantifiable expenses and losses resulting from the injuries. The award will reflect sums which are reasonably claimed and can be shown to have been caused by the injuries. The compensation awarded under this head is sometimes termed ‘special damages’.
Enclosed was the schedule setting out his losses that his solicitor had details of to date. If there were any additional expenses that Mr T would like included he was to supply his solicitor with full details with receipts and supporting vouchers wherever possible. As with the medical report, once this has been approved this schedule, there will be no further opportunity to either add to it or amend it.
If Mr t was not happy with the schedule, he was to return it with his alterations and amendments clearly marked on it, so that his solicitor can ensure that it takes into account all of the financial losses. If it was is accurate then he was asked sign it to mark his approval and send it back to Hayward Baker Solicitors.
Mr T was asked to note that the calculation of expenses and losses that have been prepared puts forward Mr T’s case on the most reasonably optimistic basis possible at this stage. Whilst it is right to put the case at its best it is likely that the Defendant will argue lower figures are appropriate on certain aspects of the claim. Accordingly, Mr t would need to keep an open mind on the level at which a settlement might be achieved should sensible proposals be put forward by the Defendant. Hayward baker would advise further on this as and when the Defendant responds to the calculation.
The schedule of the financial losses totals the sum of £37.28. Again if we went before the judge Hayward Baker believe that they would recover in the region of £10 to £15 against this schedule.
Offer to Settle
To comply with the “Pre-action Protocol for low value personal injury claims” through which this claim is being made, the Claimant must make an offer of an amount at which they would be prepared to settle their claim.
Taking the above advice on the value of Mr t’s claim into account, his solicitor believes that he should make a formal offer to settle in the sum of £3,000 on the basis that the insurers will inevitably try and knock this figure down. If the offer is not accepted by the insurers Mr T’s solicitor believes that he should consider accepting any offer above £2,210.
If Hayward Baker are unable to persuade them to settle for at least this amount then they would need to consider issuing proceedings and letting the judge decide.
Mr T was asked if he was happy with the above proposal, if he was then he was asked to sign and return the enclosed authority to proceed as his solicitor suggested has suggested.
- Hayward Baker’s fee
Mr T was reminded that under the terms of his agreement with Hayward Baker, if there is a shortfall between the amount of the total legal costs and the legal costs that his solicitor can recover from the Defendants, then he will have to pay these out of his compensation (subject to a maximum deduction of 25% from your compensation).
If the Defendant accepts the aforementioned offer the case will come to an end.
Mr T agreed with the advice given by his solicitor and signed and returned the appropriate approval forms. His solicitor made the first offer as suggested but was met with a counter offer from the other parties insurers for the sum of £2,317.28.
Mr T did not want to accept the counter offer as this was lower than suggested by his solicitor so a counter offer was made back to the insurers for £2,817.28.
Yet again a counter offer was made by the insurers for £2,617.28 and this was accepted by the client and the case came to an end.