Background

C1, C2, C3 and C4 are a family and lived in rented property at the time of the accident. C1 is aged 12, C2 7, C3 55 and C4 49. Routine annual gas safety checks were arranged by the Housing Association and on 12/10/2011 D attended the property to conduct a routine inspection.

The boiler in the property is located in a small room adjacent to the kitchen. Following the inspection over the next 8 days, C1, C2, C3 and C4 began to feel unwell.  Their symptoms included tiredness, headaches and nausea. On 20/10/2011 C4 noticed a steam like emission coming out of the boiler and an engineer was called to the property. 

The engineer attended the property that same evening and carried out an inspection. He informed the C's that a cap had been left off one of the pipes and they had thus been exposed to carbon monoxide. C's had previously felt their symptoms were bug related and now connected them to the carbon monoxide poisoning.

On 21/10/2011 C4 contacted the GP to explain what had happened. C1 had experienced the worst symptoms due to the fact that he had been repairing his bicycle in the same room in which the boiler was located. The GP referred C1 to hospital where he was seen that evening.  

Medical Evidence

The opinion of a Consultant Accident and Emergency expert was sought, and it was confirmed that C1 had suffered from lethargy, stomach ache, headaches, vomiting and nausea. C2 had suffered from lethargy, headaches and nausea. C3 had suffered from headaches, stomach ache, nausea and excessive sleep. C4 had suffered from excessive sleeping, lethargy and headaches.

As a result of the accident C1 missed a day of school.

Once the boiler had been repaired C's symptoms improved and disappeared with no ongoing effects.

Legal Proceedings

C's sought damages for personal injuries and losses suffered as a result of D's negligence. Letters of Claim were sent to D on 20/12/2011 setting out each C's claim. D responded on 19/04/2012 admitting liability subject to medical causation.

On 25/04/2012 a Part 36 Offer in the sum of £5,000 was put forward for C1 and £3,000 for C2, C3 and C4. These offers were made without medical evidence and D refused to consider them without medical evidence. An expert was therefore instructed to report on the C's injuries.

 D responded with a counter offer on 9/11/2012 in the sum of £1,750 for C1 and £1,500 for C2, C3 and C4. C's rejected these offers on 14/11/2012 and put forward counter offers of £3,500 for C1 and £2,250 for C2, C3, and C4.

D responded on 16/11/2012 advising their offers remained the same and they were not prepared to increase them.

Settlement

Proceedings were issued against D on 30/11/2012 and served on 15/01/2013. D served their Defence and then put forward a Part 36 Offer in the sum of £2,250 for C1 and £1,750 for C2, C3, and C4. This offer was accepted by C's on 11/04/2013.

There was no claim made for Special Damages and the sums therefore represent General Damages only:

C1: £2,250

C2: £1,750

C3: £1,750

C4: £1,750

Total General Damages: £7,500

D also agreed to pay C's costs of the case, which had been run under a Conditional Fee Agreement, and was subject to a fixed success fee.

For the Claimants:  Solicitor:  Sarah Towler, Russell-Cooke

For the Defendant:  Eversheds