£10,000 for spleen injury following a criminal attack

The Claimant, a 39 year old woman, sustained a spleen injury in a criminal attack. The Claimant made a claim for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

The claim was accepted but there was a dispute as to how much compensation the Claimant should receive and eventually the matter was resolved at a hearing in York. The Claimant was awarded £10,000.

The injury

When the Claimant was taken to hospital, the medical staff were so concerned about her condition, having made a provisional diagnosis of a ruptured spleen, that she underwent an emergency laparotomy. This procedure confirmed the diagnosis and, as a result, she underwent a splenectomy and remained in hospital for two weeks.

Although the Claimant had been discharged by the hospital she was prescribed a medication to combat her increased susceptibility to infection and this medication had to be taken for the rest of her life. In addition to the pain that she had suffered from, both in the assault and subsequently, she was left with a scar of which she was very conscious, particularly when she went swimming or shopping where others would see the scarring to her abdomen.

The psychological symptoms, which mainly involved severe problems with anxiety evidenced by post traumatic stress disorder, made it difficult for the Claimant to socialise or form a meaningful relationship. She was extremely embarrassed about her scarring and she felt that this was going to affect her for the rest of her life.

Expert evidence

The expert evidence was that neither counselling nor any form of medication was likely to assist these psychological symptoms which although they would improve were likely to be more or less permanent.

Settlement

The award of £10,000, taking into account the increase in the retail price index, is now valued at around £18,375.