Elderly woman breaks hip and wrist in supermarket

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Elderly woman breaks hip and wrist in supermarket

26th August 2011

An elderly Northampton woman, who was injured when she was knocked to the floor in her local supermarket, has received £25,000 in compensation in an out of court settlement.

Margaret Durbal, an occupiers’ liability specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said her client had just finished her shopping and was standing by the checkout when a member of staff who was rushing, walked into her and knocked her to the floor.

“My client is a slight woman in her seventies,” said Margaret, a solicitor with the firm. “The employee who walked into her was a very tall and heavy set man who, whilst clearly in a rush and not looking where he was going, caused her to fall to the ground onto her right hip and arm.”

The woman was taken to Northampton General Hospital by ambulance and diagnosed with a broken right hip and a broken right wrist. She remained in hospital for five-and-a-half weeks and underwent two operations on her wrist which was placed in a cast, as well as surgery to replace her broken hip.

“Following my client’s hip replacement her right leg as well as both feet became very swollen and painful,” said Margaret. “As she is right-handed, the cast on her right wrist drastically limited what she was able to do for herself following her discharge and when it was removed she experienced stabbing pains, numbness and a lack of strength and dexterity in her injured hand.

“She was provided with a support splint for her wrist and underwent a course of physiotherapy for her hip,” added Margaret. “Although the physiotherapy helped to restore a degree of confidence, her hip remained extremely uncomfortable, especially at night, and she found it incredibly difficult and painful to move around with the various crutches she was issued with.”

In the four months following the incident, the woman’s wrist injury symptoms deteriorated rapidly. She was readmitted to hospital and told that the nerve damage to her fractured wrist had been particularly severe and that a third operation, although necessary, would not bring back power to her fingers, nor would it alleviate the constant pain and discomfort she felt in her hand.

“The injuries my client received have radically altered her life,” said Margaret. “From being an independent woman, she now feels nervous in supermarkets and crowded areas and she has become increasingly dependent on outside help with housework, gardening and jobs that she took for granted before such as changing light-bulbs and fixing her curtains.

“Despite now having some power restored to her injured hand she continues to feel some pain and numbness there,” added Margaret. “She has also lost all means of precision, meaning she finds it difficult to thread a needle, sew on a button or insert her hearing-aids. Furthermore, she is unable to sleep on her right side and she finds walking even short distances impossible without feeling both uncomfortable and unsteady. Although the settlement she has now received cannot compensate for her pain, I very much hope it will help her adjust to the changes she has been forced to make.”

After liability was admitted, Margaret settled the claim on behalf of her client for £25,000 in July 2011.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents and injury.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.