Braintree woman continues fight for justice six months after fall on steps

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Braintree woman continues fight for justice six months after fall on steps

4th February 2013

A Braintree woman who shattered her elbow when she slipped on dangerous steps outside a Braintree supermarket more than six months ago is still no closer to winning her fight for justice.

Karen Dacosta, of St. John’s Avenue, Braintree - who has been left permanently unable to straighten her left arm - underwent five hours of complex reconstructive surgery after shattering her elbow in three places in June 2012. Miss Dacosta had been walking down steps outside the Braintree Tesco, leading to Market Place, when she fell.

“The pain was simply unbelievable,” said Miss Dacosta. “I’ve never known anything like it. I was on the floor outside the supermarket for at least 20 minutes while the paramedics gave me gas and air to try and relieve the pain.”

Following the incident, the 52-year-old was taken to Broomfield Hospital, where she had a metal plate, screws and pins inserted into her arm around the shattered joint. 

“After my surgery, the consultant told me it was very important that I try and move my arm as much as possible as otherwise it would seize up and I would never be able to move it again,” said Miss Dacosta. “I’ve been in constant pain ever since and it often feels like I’ve only got one functioning arm – it’s completely changed my life. The pain can be so unbearable that it prevents me from sleeping and if I do manage to sleep, when I wake up in the mornings, my arm feels like it’s completely seized up.

“Even everyday tasks such as cooking and getting dressed are a challenge and everything seems to take twice as long as it should do,” she added. “I’ve had to adjust my house by putting extra handrails in my bathroom and toilet as well as down the staircase to steady me as I climb down. It’s been more than six months now since it happened and yet I’m still suffering daily shooting pains and stiffness and I’ve lost all sensation in parts of my forearm due to nerve damage.”

Miss Dacosta said she believes she fell because the steps outside the Braintree Tesco leading to Market Square are poorly designed and without adequate markings or anti slip-strips.

“I’ve worked as a driver for the past 35 years and all I want to do is keep working,” she added. “Driving is something I really enjoy doing and it’s always been a huge part of my life. But now, because of my injury, driving as a career is no longer an option. It’s just so frustrating that I can’t simply get in my car and go for a drive. I used to be really fit and active, going swimming and dancing and doing tai chi every week but now I can’t do any of those things - it’s like my freedom has been snatched away from me.”

Now lawyers representing Miss Dacosta hope that other people who may have witnessed or experienced a similar such fall on the same steps will come forward and support her in her fight for damages.

Michael Latner, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP who specialises in serious injury cases like Miss Dacosta’s, explained that the injury has had a huge impact on her life not least as it means she can no longer drive for a living. “Karen has been left with permanent damage to her arm, which unfortunately means she often has to use a sling. She can’t carry anything heavy and she has very little grip strength in her left hand,” he said. “She now has a 10-inch scar running down her left arm where she had her surgery, and she will need a further operation in the future to replace her elbow completely.

“We believe others may have suffered similar accidents or at least know that the steps outside Tesco leading to Market Square can be unsafe - especially for anyone not accustomed to using them regularly,” said Mr Latner. “We are now appealing for anyone who has been injured, who has witnessed an accident there or anyone who believes that the steps are unsafe to please get in touch and help Miss Dacosta in her fight for justice.”

Can you help? If you have suffered a similar incident to Karen Dacosta or think you can help in any way, please call Michael Latner on 0844 854 3195or e-mail