£336,723 awarded for military exercise injury
A 43 year-old man received £336,723 compensation for nerve injuries causing a loss of sensation in his right leg following back surgery after he was injured on a military exercise six years earlier.
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The claimant was a soldier who at the age of the injury was 37. It was during an army exercise in Cyprus that the claimant suffered a lower back injury. The injury sustained was a prolapsed disc significantly between lumbar vertebra 4 and 5.
Over a period of months the claimant was suffering discomfort and it was decided that he should be admitted to hospital for an operation with the intention of removing material from the damaged disc which was protruding and as a result pressing down on nerve roots. Unfortunately the surgeon undertaking the operation did not operate on lumbar vertebras 4 and 5 but instead operated on numbers 3 and 4. The operation was therefore carried out on the wrong area. It was not noted that this error had occurred for some time. Because symptoms did not improve two weeks later there was a second operation by the same surgeon but this time the operation was done on the correct lumbar vertebra. Unfortunately the operation on lumbar vertebras 3 and 4 had caused permanent damage which could not be rectified.
The damage caused to lumbar vertebra 3 and 4 resulted in the claimant developing right foot drop which left his right leg and groin area numb.
It was anticipated that the condition would continuing to deteriorate into the future.
It was alleged that the surgeon was negligent in that he had operated on the wrong area. It was further alleged that the surgeon had not acted promptly to correct the error but instead had continued to treat the claimant for a period of two weeks which had caused permanent damage to the claimant's nervous system.
The claimant would be unable to continue his role in the army which would cause him significant loss. The injury also impacted on his leisure time activities leaving him unable to garden or DIY and specialist clothing and accessories were required.
Conclusion and settlement
Liability was admitted. Compensation could not be agreed so the matter proceeded to a London Court settlement hearing.
Compensation of £336,723 was awarded.
£61,000 was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."
Past gardening and DIY costs were awarded at £6,000.
Care provided after the surgery was awarded at £6,240.
The remainder was awarded in respect of financial benefits lost as a result of not being able to continue in the army. These benefits were to be paid yearly.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.