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Grandmother suffers shoulder injury after slipping on ice in staff car park
A grandmother who tore the tendons in her right shoulder when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice in her staff car park has received £20,000 in an out of court settlement.
Michael Hagan, a workplace accident specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the Surrey catering manager, who is in her 60s, had just finished parking her car and was stepping out of the vehicle when the incident occurred more than three years ago.
“As soon as my client stepped out of her car she slipped on the icy tarmac and fell backwards onto her right shoulder,” said Michael, a solicitor with the firm. “After pulling herself upright she managed to get back into her car, where she had to sit for a few minutes in shock, to recover. At this point, as well as feeling a faint burning pain in her shoulder, she also found that she was unable to properly move her right arm. After making her way across the car park and into her office, the effects of her shock began to subside and her pain grew until it became so unbearable it reached what she called ‘screaming point.’”
When the ambulance arrived, the injured woman was given morphine and taken to hospital. After x-rays confirmed that she hadn’t suffered any broken bones, she was given a sling for her arm and discharged later that day into the care of her sister.
“At the time of my client’s accident, the staff car park was extremely icy,” said Michael. “Despite this, her employers hadn’t taken any steps to clear the ice or grit the tarmac to reduce the risk of injury. During our investigations, we found that this was a common failing during periods of cold weather and despite numerous complaints from members of staff about the state of the car park, no action had been taken prior to her fall.”
Over the following four months, during which time the claimant relied on her sister and friends to help with the domestic chores around the house, she was unable to type, drive or even hold a hairdryer up with her right hand without feeling severe pain. Although her job normally involved carrying trays of breakfast dishes to and from a kitchen, she found that after returning to work, she couldn’t even lift a two-litre jug of water and had to apply an ice-pack to her shoulder up to three times a day.
“Over the next several months my client’s pain remained at a constantly high level and she continued to suffer significant difficulties carrying out any kind of domestic duties both at home and at work,” said Michael. “Despite a daily cocktail of painkillers along with monthly visits to a pain management clinic, her pain was often so severe that she would have to take an hours break in between hoovering a single room and she would feel as if her arm ‘was about to drop off’ if she ironed for more than 30 minutes at a time.”
Eventually, the claimant underwent an operation on her shoulder and spent the following seven weeks with her arm in a sling, unable to shower and having to rely upon family members to help her with her personal care and with getting dressed each day. Following her surgery, the claimant was made redundant from her job for unrelated reasons and as a result of the time needed for her shoulder to recover she was unable to secure further employment for another nine months.
“Currently, my client has recovered well from her injury but she now has to be careful to avoid any kind of heavy lifting,” said Michael. “The injury she suffered through no fault of her own has caused her a significant amount of debilitating pain and discomfort and the damages she has now received reflect both the physical ordeal she has been through as well as the loss of earnings she subsequently suffered as a result.”
After 90 per cent liability was admitted, Michael settled the claim on behalf of his client in July 2012.
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