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Aston Knight Solicitors have recovered over £80,000 for an injured tripper following a three day trial at Brighton County Court before HHJ Venn.

Ms E injured herself in January 2014 as a result of tripping on a defective pavement. Unfortunately, she had her right arm in a sling at the time of the accident and so landed heavily upon her left elbow.

The injury was initially diagnosed as an undisplaced radial head fracture and treated conservatively. Regrettably, as time passed the left elbow did not recover in line with the usual prognosis for such a fracture. She began to suffer from a range of unpleasant symptoms including clicking, cracking and pain. She underwent surgery in the NHS but a degree of symptoms remained and it was identified that she had gone on to develop established arthritis in the elbow, which would be permanent.

As a result of the horrendous situation of being left without the use of either arm she also developed psychological symptoms in the form of depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

Aston Knight relied upon expert witness evidence from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who felt the accident had caused cartilage damage and instability, leading to the arthritis.

Expert evidence was also obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist confirming the accident had caused her psychological symptoms.

The Defendant however decided to adopt an extremely combative approach to the case, beginning with obtaining separate expert evidence.

The Defendant relied upon the view of their Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who opined that the arthritis was purely the result of unrelated natural aging: so called constitutional arthritis, and therefore nothing to do with the accident.

The Defendant also relied upon the opinion of their  Consultant Psychiatrist, who attributed 100% of her psychological problems to a reduction in pain relief medication following the accident I.e. a withdrawal syndrome.

We therefore faced a situation whereby the Defendant took the view the accident had had very little impact upon the client whereas her experts felt it was responsible for quite a lot of damage.

Whilst this situation is all too common in litigation I.e defendant experts finding alternative explanations for symptoms following an accident, what made this case stand out is the Defendant and their solicitors refused to engage in any sensible discussions about the case; so far as they were concerned their experts were right and the client should therefore accept a low settlement offer.  Attempts at sensible negotiations were repeatedly rejected leaving no option but to take the matter to trial.

At trial, after hearing live evidence from all four doctors, HHJ Venn preferred the views of our client’s experts over the views of the Defendant’s experts, and therefore ruled in favour of Ms E.

The Judge found it unlikely that Ms E would naturally have arthritis in that joint alone at such a young age and noted the Defendant’s expert had not tested his theory about a withdrawal syndrome by looking at an earlier period in the years before the accident when there was a similar withdrawal but no psychological impact.

Once penalty fees were added on (because Ms E recovered more than her own settlement offer) the total amount exceeded £80,000, with which Ms E was delighted.

Solicitor James Winterbottom who dealt with the case throughout commented: this is a fantastic result which shows that personal injury claimants and the firms that represent them should always be prepared to take cases to trial when faced with an unreasonable Defendant hiding behind untenable expert evidence.

 

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