On 28/07/2008 C was on board a bus operated by D. The bus was crowded and C was standing by the rear doors holding onto an upright pole, adjacent to the exit.
When a passenger with a pushchair moved towards the exit to get off the bus, C was pushed against the glass partition that separates the seats from the exit. C was still holding the upright pole to maintain her balance.
When the bus stopped, the driver opened the back doors, trapping C's left arm between the glass partition and the back door. C cried out in pain and was approached by a bus inspector who had just boarded. He asked if she required medical assistance. C was embarrassed by the incident and declined any assistance. The inspector went back to speak to the driver before the bus continued its journey. C disembarked at the next stop and returned home.
She treated the arm with an ice pack and pain relief. The following day it was no better and so she attended hospital.
Investigations confirmed that she had suffered a fracture to her left forearm. C had suffered a fracture to the left ulna 22 years previously and a plate had been inserted at that time. Her arm had recovered and been asymptomatic for over 20 years. The index accident had dislodged the plate as well as causing a further fracture.
C spent over a year with her arm in a plaster cast and underwent 3 bone graft procedures over the course of 2 years. The fracture remained in non-union.
Following continuous pain in her arm C attended Central Middlesex Hospital A&E Department. A fracture of the left forearm was diagnosed. The existing plate in the arm had also been dislodged.
C had the previous fracture treated with internal fixation and medical records showed no sign of any residual difficulties or complaints or pain in the left arm prior to the accident.
C underwent 3 bone graft procedures, however the ulna remains in non-union. Use of her arm is limited, she is unable to carry weight and requires assistance with the heavier household tasks.
The medical evidence confirmed that C will always have aching in the forearm and some weakness. The accident accelerated C's need for assistance by 5 years from the date of the accident.
C sought damages for personal injuries and losses suffered as a result of D's negligence.
A Letter of Claim was sent to D on 05/05/2009 setting out C's claim. No response on liability was received.
A Claim Form was issued and proceedings served on D on 22/06/2011. Liability was firmly denied by D. C made a Part 36 offer to settle the claim on 02/11/2010 in the sum of £43,574.94. No response to this offer was received.
The claim was issued and the matter moved forward to trial, which was set for July 2012.
Settlement negotiations just prior to trial resulted in an agreement being reached on 11/07/2012 in the sum of £30,000 plus the Claimant's legal costs.
A rough breakdown of the settlement figure is as follows:
General damages: £10,000
Special damages: £20,000 (mainly care, both past and future)
The Defendant also agreed to pay C's costs of the case, which had been run under a Conditional Fee Agreement.
For the Claimant:
Solicitor: Sarah Towler, Russell-Cooke; Counsel: Conor Dufficy, 7 Bedford Row
For the Defendant: Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP