Polish-speaking team helps injured man secure damages

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Polish-speaking team helps injured man secure damages

1st March 2011

A Polish man who fractured his ankle when he stepped into an uncovered drainage gully was almost denied compensation because English wasn't his first language.

The self-employed bricklayer was taken to hospital for treatment following the incident, but due to his poor English he had difficulty in explaining how he had sustained his injuries to the nurse who treated him. John Reeder, a personal injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that the nurse's record of the accident circumstances later jeopardised his client's claim.

"It was just getting dark when my client, his partner and six year old daughter were on their way back home from an early evening walk in their local park," said John, a partner with the firm. "As he walked along, my client's foot suddenly plunged into an uncovered drainage gully in the middle of the pavement. The gully should have been covered by a metal grille, but had been left in a state of disrepair."

John said his client immediately felt terrible pain in his right foot, and after limping home with the aid of his partner he was driven to hospital by a friend.

"He received treatment for a fractured right ankle and his injured leg was placed in a cast," said John. "He was unable to work for the next eight weeks and suffered a loss of earnings as a result. But as soon as we began looking at his claim for compensation, the information recorded by the nurse at the hospital caused him a problem."

John said that an engineer's report made it clear that the grille had never been properly fitted - adding that it was only a matter of time before it fell into the drain gully and something like this happened. "When Transport for London saw the engineer's report, they admitted fault for the accident," he said. "But they were not willing to admit my client's injuries occurred as he had alleged. This was because the accident circumstances recorded in the nurse's notes were so unclear, and did not match with what our client was saying had happened."

John, who leads a team of Polish-speaking lawyers advising Polish claimants in relation to personal injury claims, was able to show that the notes taken in the hospital were inaccurate, an issue caused by the nurse not understanding his client's poor English.

"I have acted for a number of foreign nationals whose first language is not English," said John. "In this case it was thanks to the expertise of our Polish team, in particular my colleague Magdalena Knez, who was able to ascertain exactly how my client's injuries were sustained and show that the hospital notes did not represent an accurate account of what happened."

After lengthy negotiations, John settled the claim on behalf of his client for £6,500.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of personal injury.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.