Man offered just £1,500 to settle work injury claim receives £27,000

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Man offered just £1,500 to settle work injury claim receives £27,000

30th April 2012

A man who was offered £1,500 by his employer’s insurers after he was injured at work has received £27,000 in an out of court settlement after seeking specialist legal advice.

The injured workman had been part of a two-man crew carrying out digging work on a main road in order to access underground pipes. “My client and his colleague had finished work for the day and were packing up all of their equipment,” said Nigel Smith, a specialist in work injury cases with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “As they lifted the compressor – a particularly heavy piece of equipment – into their van, he felt a sudden and severe pain in his lower back.”

Nigel said that his client immediately sought medical attention and was diagnosed with a serious back injury. “My client had sustained a prolapsed disc in his lower back,” he said. “He was in unbearable pain, and because the disc was impinging on a nerve he was also suffering numbness in both his legs.”

He explained that as his client continued to receive medical treatment, he was unable to work and so suffered a loss of earnings. “He could not bend or even move without being in severe pain, and in the immediate aftermath of his injury he required constant care and assistance at home, incurring various and substantial expenses,” said Nigel, an associate with the firm.

When the man later discussed his injury with his employer’s insurance company, they obtained a medical report and made him an offer to settle the claim in full for £1,500. “Thankfully, rather than accepting the offer the injured man decided to seek specialist legal advice,” said Nigel. “That decision saved him more than £25,000.”

Nigel said as soon as he met with his client, he could see the seriousness of his injury. “As anyone who has ever suffered a back injury knows, the pain can flare up out of nowhere and be total agony for the sufferer. Despite trying to persevere with his day to day routine, it was obvious that my client had suffered a painful and long-term - if not permanent - injury, and that the offer the insurers made seemed very low in the circumstances.”

Nigel said he immediately sought the opinion of another medical expert, one who specialised in assessing back injuries. “The insurers had already admitted they were liable for the injury, and the facts were not in dispute,” he said. “Once we had this second medical report we were able to demonstrate to the insurers that my client’s injuries were much more serious than their original offer reflected, and could begin negotiating a more appropriate settlement.”

Nigel said that the importance of obtaining the relevant medical evidence from the most appropriate expert could not be overstated. “Without this second expert’s report, my client might well have settled his claim for just £1,500,” said Nigel. “That would only have covered a percentage of his lost earnings, let alone the extra expenses he incurred with all his treatment and care following the injury,” he said.

“Once a settlement is agreed and the papers signed, there’s no second chance to claim, so it’s important that before accepting any offer to settle a claim, the injured person seeks specialist legal advice,” he said. “Thankfully my client did just that and subsequently received an appropriate amount – almost 20 times what the insurers had initially offered – which will hopefully go some way to helping him recover from his injury.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace or injuries sustained at work.

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.