£85k compensation for 3 year old girl hurt on escalator

A 3 year old girl was awarded £85,000 after an escalator accident left her with serious injuries to her hand.

Circumstances

The girl was visiting the London Underground system with her family. She was using an escalator within the London Underground when her right hand became trapped. She suffered serious injury to her right hand. She suffered traumatic amputation of the ends of 3 of her fingers on her right hand (dominant hand).

Injuries and Progression

The Claimant was 3 at the time of the accident and 9 years old at the time of the Trial. The ends of her ring, middle and index fingers were severed. She had an operation on the day of the accident, but this was unsatisfactory in its outcome. A further operation was therefore carried out 2 days after the first operation. The Claimant was left with impaired grip between the index finger and thumb.

The Claimant's ring finger was severed through the distal interphalangeal joint and a scar remained. The middle finger was amputated just above the joint. The surgeon was able to create a skin flap to cover the amputation. The index finger was severed at the very tip. Part of the nail bed was still intact. 

Liability

Liability for the accident was not disputed and the Claimant's solicitors entered into negotiations with the Defendants insurers to try reach an amicable settlement. Agreement could not be reached and so the Claimant commenced court proceedings.

Settlement

At Trial the Claimant was 9 years old. The Claimant's scarring had time to settle down. The Claimant's injuries were permanent. The Claimant was of Pakistani origin coming from a Muslim family. It was said that her chances of marriage were seriously impaired. This was because in such a community any form of physical impairment was viewed as undesirable for a wife.

Because of her injuries the Claimant could not use a computer keyboard. She was considered to be likely to be at a disadvantage when seeking employment as a result.  The Judge awarded £43,000 for the Claimant's pain suffering and loss of amenity. Additional awards were made by the Judge. One for the Claimant's disadvantage on the open labour market, the second for the Claimant's likely loss of marriage prospects