£50k awarded to man who sustained an ear injury

Compensation of £50,000 was awarded in 2008 to a 36 year-old male who lost his ear following injuries sustained in a brawl.

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Case details

Injury Details

The claimant, aged 33 at the time at which the incident took place, was involved in a fight with another individual.

He suffered severe injuries to his ear which was almost entirely severed in the brawl. The wound was cleaned and attended to by medical staff, however only a small portion of his ear lobe remained in tact.

He began a course of antibiotics and underwent three operational procedures to reconstruct his ear. The operations required skin and cartilage to be grafted onto his ear from other parts of his body, and were moderately successful.

However, the claimant was extremely embarrassed about the size and colour of his ear, which would collect sweat pockets, grow unsightly hair and produce an unpleasant smell. He struggled to sleep on the ear as it caused him discomfort.

The upshot was that he became depressed and uneasy due to a lack of sleep. He feared another attack, and it was the opinion of medical experts that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to the incident. He used alcohol excessively in an attempt to calm his nerves and symptoms.

He was prescribed a number of sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy as an alternative mechanism to deal with the severity of his psychological symptoms.

His condition was exacerbated by the fact that the attack had caused him to take an entire year off work. Upon his return, he suffered from huge insecurity about the appearance of his ear. Various verbal insults worsened his psychological state and drove him into stepping down from his employment.

He required a further operation on his ear to deal with the unsightly hair growing from it, however there was essentially no means of improving the overall appearance of the ear.


The matter eventually progressed to a court hearing.

General damages were assessed on the basis that basis that the appearance of his ear and the resulting psychological damage were inextricably linked to the injury sustained in the fight.

The claimant was awarded £50,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Read more: criminal injury compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher