£18,320 for ankle injury after a climbing wall accident

Compensation of £18,320 was awarded to a 41 year-old woman for a severely broken ankle suffered in a fall from a climbing wall 5 years earlier.

Injury details

The claimant was a young woman aged 36 at the time of the accident. She was keen on sports and enjoyed dancing She was an inexperienced climber and went with a friend to try out climbing on a climbing wall. She had a lesson with an instructor. Near the end of the lesson the instructor told her to free-climb a bouldering wall without the aid of ropes.

The claimant fell from the wall and suffered a severely broken right ankle as a result. She suffered intense pain especially during the long wait in hospital until her fractures could be set.

She was put under general anaesthetic and her ankle was operated on to fix a metal screw in place. When she went home from the hospital, she was unable to move around without crutches for 3 months until the screw was removed. On either side of her right leg there were 2 long cuts where the plates, screws and pins had been inserted into her ankle to support it until the bones healed.

The claimant lived in a house on 4 floors and suffered enormous restrictions on her lifestyle while she was unable to weight bear on her injured ankle. She needed considerable help to run the house and to look after herself, her husband and 2 children. In the first week, family members stepped in to help and in the following weeks she employed a mother's helper for just over 4 months to drive and to do almost all the housework.

The claimant was unable to drive for 5 months and a family skiing holiday booked for shortly after the accident had to be cancelled.

On examination after 5 months, the claimant was still limping and was still in a large amount of pain. On further examination 2 years and 9 months after the accident, the claimant's medical expert found that she was virtually back to normal after a long period of rehabilitation.

Allegation

The Claimant alleged that the local authority were negligent insofar as they failed to operate the climbing wall safely.

They failed to provide the Claimant and her colleagues with adequate training before commencing the activities. Adequate supervision was not provided and the local authority did not ensure the participants were safe.

The Claimant suffered an ankle injury requiring surgery. She would suffer problems for nearly 3 years, with the possibility of some minor permanent symptoms.

Conclusion and settlement

Lliability was disputed and the matter progressed to a Court hearing.

Compensation of £18,320 was accepted by way of a Court settlement.

£9,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

The remainder of the compensation was made up of rehabilitation treatment, paying for a live-in mother's help and medical expenses.