£905,316 awarded for complex regional pain syndrome

The male Claimant was awarded total damages of £905,316 after an accident at work which led to the development of complex regional pain syndrome injuries.

Accident circumstances

The Claimant was aged 40 at the time of the accident. He was employed by the Defendant as a heavy goods vehicle driver. On the day of the accident he arrived at the defendant's yard to find that a JCB was blocking the entrance. The Claimant was provided with the keys for the JCB by the Defendant's company manager so that he could move the JCB and bring his vehicle into the yard.

The JCB had been vandalised and the Claimant was unable to unlock the door due to the damage. He therefore put his arm through the broken window to unlock the door from the inside. As he did so he slipped and sliced his left arm on broken glass.

Details of injury

The Claimant's radial artery was damaged along with the flexor tendons and median nerve. He also developed complex regional pain syndrome.

A median nerve block and Guanethidine blocks were carried out along with a sympathectomy. This involved the sympathetic nerve which runs up and down the spine being cut. The procedure is intended to stop nerve signals passing through it but it caused the Claimant to suffer with neuropathic pain in his left shoulder, arm and anterior chest. It also resulted in Horner's Syndrome. A further operation was required to treat this.

The Claimant also underwent intense treatment including physiotherapy and pain management but despite this he remained unable to use his left arm and hand. He therefore required a lot of assistance from his wife and he became severely depressed.

It was unlikely that the Claimant would ever be able to work again.

A claim was brought by the Claimant alleging that the Defendant had acted negligently in blocking the entrance to the yard with a vandalised JCB and had exposed the Claimant to a foreseeable risk of injury when they asked him to move it.

Conclusion and Settlement

A compromise was made on liability and the Defendant admitted 85 percent liability with the Claimant admitting 15 percent.

The case was settled on a global basis with total damages being agreed at £905,316. Of this sum £100,000 was in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity with the balance being made up of other costs including loss of earnings and pension along with care costs.