£3,250 award to taxi driver for thumb injury
Compensation of £3,250 was awarded in 2014 to a 56 year-old male taxi driver who sustained a soft tissue injury to his left thumb.
A 53 year old taxi driver, at the time of the injury, was driving his taxi when it was struck on the offside. He was self employed and therefore being off the road meant he did not earn a wage.
He got out of the taxi and caught his left thumb in the spokes of the steering wheel, causing it to hyperextend backwards. The injury was painful but the thumb showed no visible swelling or bruising.
He continued to work thereafter so as to avoid losing earnings, and medicated with ibuprofen and a thumb support.
The pain continued and the use of his left hand became difficult. He was no longer able to play golf, which he had previously played regularly, nor could he carry shopping in his left hand or enjoy gardening. The injury also caused sleep disturbance.
Eighteen weeks after the accident, having undergone six sessions of physiotherapy and regular GP consultations, the thumb was still causing an aching pain. His GP recommended an MRI scan and review by an expert hand surgeon.
The scan showed a thickening of the ulna collateral ligament of the metacarpo-phalangeal joint, and otherwise appeared compatible with a strain. It also showed arthritic degeneration at the base of the thumb, which had previously been asymptomatic.
The hand surgeon reviewed him again at eight months after the accident, and gave a total prognosis of twenty months. He said that similar problems may have developed but for the accident, which meant the symptoms related to the injury would have been twelve months in duration at the time of the accident.
The claimant's and defendant's entered into discussions to try reach an amicable settlement. Negotiations and broke down. The claimant therefore issued court proceedings. The matter progressed to a court hearing.
The trial took place two years subsequent to the accident, at which point the claimant was on a waiting list for surgery. He was still suffering from bouts discomfort and stiffness. He was still having to wear a thumb support.
The judge found the duration of the injury to be twenty months and therefore assessed it as falling within the JC Guidelines Chapter 7(1)(y). The injury was classed as being similar to a serious dislocation.
General damages of £3,250 were awarded.