Introduction

The Claimant was born on 28/05/1916.  At the time of the accident he was 92 years old.  He was an inpatient in the Defendant hospital having been admitted some days earlier for an unrelated matter.  He was due to be discharged on 02/11/2008.

During the evening of 01/11/2008 the Claimant needed to use the bathroom, which was situated outside of the ward, and past the nurses work station.

As the Claimant was making his way back to ward he could see that a yellow sign had been put out in the middle of the corridor close to the nurses work station.  The floor was wet on the left hand side of the corridor and he could see that a bathroom on the left hand side of the corridor had flooded and nurses were evacuating patients from a ward adjacent to the bathroom.

There were nurses behind the nurses work station and one standing in front of it.  As he approached them he ensured that he kept to the far right of the corridor.  As far as he was able to see the flood was on the left hand side of the corridor going into the ward and the floor was dry on the right hand side.  He could not see any hazard on the right and none of the staff in the corridor warned him of any hazard.

As he drew level with the nurses work station he slipped.  His left leg went out in front and his right leg folded underneath him.  He was attended to by those staff already at the scene.  His leg was checked and no fractures were discovered.  He was not discharged as planned the following day but kept in hospital as he was suffering from pain in his leg and was having difficulty walking.  It was not until 7 days later, after further investigation, that it was discovered that he had ruptured a tendon in his right knee.

Injuries

The Claimant underwent an operation for a right quadriceps avulsion.  He remained in hospital until 12/12/2008.  He was immobilised in a knee brace for 6 weeks following the procedure and when it was removed he attended physiotherapy.   He regained good function in his knee and was able to walk again, albeit with the use of a stick.

The Claimant continued to have residual swelling and pain in his knee after walking.  The medical evidence concluded that the accident had accelerated deterioration in the Claimant's knee by about 2 to 3 years.

The legal case

A letter of claim was sent to the Defendant on 12/06/09.  In making allegations the Claimant relied upon the Occupiers Liability Act and the Defendant's failure to ensure the Claimant's safety.  Given the ward in question was occupied by geriatric residents, with reduced mobility and impaired eyesight it was alleged that a higher duty of care existed.  The Defendant failed to respond.

Medical records were obtained and a report on the Claimant's condition and prognosis was commissioned.  A Schedule of Loss was drafted.

The Defendant provided no view on liability and the Claimant put forward an offer to settle in February 2010 in the sum of £20,000.   In March 2010 the Defendant admitted liability and put forward a counter offer of £13,000 which the Claimant accepted. 

Settlement

The settlement was a global sum, however this can be roughly broken down as follows:-

General Damages      £8,000

Special Damages      £5,000

The claim was funded by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement and, in addition to his compensation, the Defendant also agreed to pay the Claimant's legal fees.

For the Claimant:  Sarah Towler, Russell-Cooke LLP

For the Defendant:  NHSLA