£37,605 for digestive problems resulting from work

The Claimant was awarded £37,605 in total in a work injury claim for gastric problems caused as a result of heavy lifting which was required during the course of his employment.

Accident Circumstances

The male Claimant aged between 28 and 31 at the time of the accident but by the matter was heard at trial he was aged 40. He had previously been employed by the Defendant as a delivery driver where he was required to manually load his vehicle with beer kegs and gas cylinders. He would then be required to offload at the point of delivery. This involved a lot of heavy lifting and caused him to suffer from gastric reflux resulting in heartburn.

The Claimant's original job specification changed in 1992 resulting in increased levels of heavy lifting. The kegs he had to lift were much heavier and the Claimant's condition worsened. He visited his GP on numerous occasions about his condition and despite taking more advanced medication he still continued to suffer.

His employment with the Defendant ceased in 1997 for reasons that were not connected with his medical condition.

The Defendant initially admitted liability but they did not accept that they had caused the Claimant's condition. At trial the Judge found that the work the Claimant had done as a delivery driver would have caused the problems that the Claimant experienced and therefore found in favour of the Claimant. He also accepted that the condition was permanent and a full recovery would not be made.

Conclusion

The Claimant was originally awarded damages of £5,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This covered the worsening of the Claimants condition between 1994 and 1997 as well as the symptoms that he continued to have. He did not make any award for past or future loss of earnings.

Appeal

The Claimant appealed the level of damages and the matter was referred to the Court of Appeal.

The Judge found that the Claimant was entitled to damages from when his condition worsened in 1992 and that his ability to work as a delivery driver had been impaired. The award for general damages was increased to £8,500 and awards made in respect of past and future loss of earnings.

A total award of £37,605 was made.