£12,000 awarded following wrist injury during training

At Whitehaven County Court, a 30 year old Claimant received £12,000 following a military training accident claim.

The serviceman, who was 24 at the time of the accident, received compensation for pain and suffering caused by injuries sustained in the incident.

The Claimant fell from a lorry whilst on a training exercise with the Army.

The extent of the Claimant's injuries

The Claimant sustained wrist injuries, including compound fractures of the radius and ulna at the left non-dominant wrist. The fractures were fixed by two wires under general anaesthetic. The wrist was in plaster for five weeks. The wires were removed after two months, with a two-day stay in hospital.

At the date of examination, three years after the accident, the bones had healed solidly, with good but not perfect alignment. There was some distortion of the wrist joint and some evidence of disruption of the ligaments.

The Claimant experienced some weakness of grip in the left hand and up to 50 percent loss of normal movement of the wrist.

The wrist remained tender and was painful on passive manipulation. The Claimant's sleep continued to be disturbed by discomfort in the wrist and this was particularly the case after a heavy day's work. Some stiffness was apparent upon rising in the morning.

The Claimant's symptoms had deteriorated so that he had moved from taking non-prescription painkillers, as at the date of the examination, to being prescribed stronger painkillers at the date of the assessment.

The Claimant also suffered a minor injury to his face which, three years after the accident, had largely recovered.

As a result of his injuries, the Claimant was prevented from fully participating in activities with his children.

Prognosis

A deterioration of the Claimant's condition was predicted, such that within five to 10 years of the date of the examination, the Claimant could require surgical stiffening of the wrist. Such surgery might involve a bone graft from the pelvis which would require up to two weeks as an in-patient, immobilisation of the arm in plaster for four to five months and convalescence of nine to 12 months following surgery.

The judge found that, because of the deterioration in the Claimant's symptoms as shown by his need for stronger painkillers, the possibility of a need for surgery had become a probability.

The Claimant had been a keen sportsman and had played rugby, football and cricket to regimental standard but, because of his accident, would never play again. He was also restricted in his hobby of gardening.

The Claimant had difficulty in driving any car which had either a manual gear box or non-power assisted steering. The Claimant had joined the Army as a young soldier and when he left, for reasons unrelated to his accident, his only qualifications were an HGV Class 3 licence and some unqualified training in radio telecommunications.

The Claimant's continuing disability prevented him from working as a HGV driver, and his radio engineering skills were specific to his military service.

Initially, the Claimant had found work at the Sellafield Nuclear Plant.

This involved heavy work laying cables but, because of his injury, the Claimant was unable to perform this work in the long term and sought, and was granted, a transfer to lighter supervisory work.

The Claimant performed this lighter work and was later made redundant. At the date of his redundancy, the Claimant's annual net income was about £13,500. The Claimant had been actively, but unsuccessfully, looking for work since the redundancy.

Court decision

When determining the award, the judge considered the Claimant's disadvantage on the labour market.

The judge found that on leaving the Army, manual and heavy manual labour jobs formed significant proportion of the employment opportunities available to the Claimant.

The judge found that the disability resulting from the Claimant's accident barred him from heavy manual labour, severely reducing the Claimant's employment prospects.