Footpath fall leads to five-year ordeal for woman

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Footpath fall leads to five-year ordeal for woman

11th October 2012

A woman has received £140,000 after a seemingly innocuous fall led to more than five years of debilitating pain and misery.

The Berkshire woman, who is in her 50s, was walking towards the hotel where her daughter worked when she tripped in a pothole in the footpath and fell forward.

“When she instinctively put her arms out to prevent her face from hitting the ground, my client fell hard onto her right arm and shoulder,” said Arthur Keitch, an associate with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “A passer-by helped her into the hotel reception where she was given first aid, and whilst there she was told that staff were already aware there was a hole in their footpath.”

When the mother-of-two woke the following morning, she was unable to move her right arm. “She went to see her GP and was advised that she had merely suffered a soft tissue injury and would need to take the next few days off work,” said Arthur. “Unfortunately, little did she know that her injury would effectively lead to five years of constant trauma and that following her physical injury she would also suffer stress and anxiety issues directly related to her pain and suffering.”

After returning to work, the injured woman’s pain remained both constant and intense and after five months of struggling to do her job properly as a result, she chose to leave. “Over the next several months, despite repeated cortisone injections and visits to her GP as well as regular intensive physiotherapy, the pain and restricted movement around her shoulder failed to improve,” said Arthur. “When she then underwent an MRI scan, she was told she needed an operation to relieve the pressure around her shoulder joint.

“After her surgery, my client believed she was finally free of the pain and discomfort she had been suffering for the previous ten months,” added Arthur. “However, after just six pain-free weeks, she woke up one morning totally unable to move her arm. When she was again examined by her GP, she was told she had what is known as a ‘frozen shoulder’ - a disorder whereby the connective tissue around the shoulder joint becomes stiff and inflamed causing chronic pain and restricted movement.”

Over the next year the claimant underwent two further operations on her shoulder. “She effectively had to endure another cycle of cortisone injections, physiotherapy and generally having to live her life in pain and without the proper use of her dominant right arm, all over again,” said Arthur.

“After three separate operations, my client is still unable to properly use her right arm and has to rely heavily on her husband, family and friends to assist her with her day-to-day living,” said Arthur. “Even the most basic tasks such as showering prove either extremely difficult or impossible and having always cared and looked after others, she now has to depend on her husband to drive her around, help clean and dress her and carry out the vast majority of the jobs that need doing around the house.”

Arthur said the ordeal his client had been put through had robbed her of her former life. “Following her surgery, and having endured almost three years of constant trauma, she now suffers panic attacks, a fear of leaving the house and a total lack of confidence as well as severe depression and problems with her blood pressure,” he said.

“This case exemplifies how tripping injuries, which are so often dismissed as both minor and trivial, can often lead to hugely devastating consequences,” said Arthur. “As a result of her injury, my client feels she has lost her independence and sense of purpose and feels utterly heartbroken that she can no longer look after or play with her own grandchildren. Formerly an outgoing, sociable and hardworking mother, she has now lost the ability to earn an income and provide care and support to her family. Although she continues to receive regular physiotherapy, her shoulder movement remains restricted and she still has significant ongoing symptoms which are unfortunately unlikely to improve.”

After liability was admitted, Arthur settled the claim on behalf of his client for £140,000.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of serious injury including those arising from trips.
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.