£20,000 compensation for engineer with cold injuries

Circumstances

The Claimant developed injuries as a result as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures whilst working for the Defendants as a Maintenance Engineer. Over a two year period the Claimant was exposed to extremely low temperatures of -20 degrees to - 70. This was whilst working in a large freezer complex.

The continued exposure to low temperatures caused severe cold injury symptoms in the Claimant's feet and hands. After 2 years the Claimant's health began suffer. The Claimant had to stop working.

Injuries and Progression

The cold conditions had caused circulatory problems as well nerve damage. The Claimant had on going pain which did not diminish. He also suffered with dermatitis and constant headaches. He had bouts of sweating. He had become irritable.

Lliability

Lliability for the Claimant's condition was not in dispute but the Defendants suggested the Claimant was exaggerating his symptoms.

Medical Evidence

Medical evidence was obtained in support of the Claimant's claim. This confirmed the on going symptoms to the hands and feet even though the Claimant was no longer working in the freezer. The medical expert recommended that the Claimant work on an indoor job to limit the effects of his symptoms. Joint problems in the future were to be anticipated particularly in the ankles.

Negotiations

The Claimant and Defendants solicitors tried to enter into meaningful discussions with a view to settling the Claimant's claim. However it became apparent that the parties were some distance apart in their valuations of the Claimant's claim. As no agreement could be reached the Claimant instructed his solicitors to issue county court proceedings.

Court Award

The Claimant's claim was heard in Nottingham by a Judge 4 years later.The Judge found the Claimant to be a reliable witness and believed the devastating effects the Claimant's symptoms had on his lifestyle. The Judge awarded the Claimant £20,000 for his pain suffering and loss of amenity.

There was additional award to the Claimant for being at a disadvantage on the open labour market of £7,000. This additional type of award was first established in the case of Smith-v-Manchester Corporation