Public liability claim – compensation for shoulder dislocation injury after slip

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Lyn GibbonsSenior Litigation Executive

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Compensation for shoulder dislocation injury after slip

The claim

Mrs S and her family from Sheerness, Kent, were visitors to a public house in Herne Bay, Kent. The only entrance to the public house was approached via wooden steps leading up onto wooden decking. There was a sudden heavy downpour of rain, which made the wooden decking extremely slippery underfoot and caused Mrs S to slip and fall as she approached the doorway to enter the pub. She fell heavily onto her back and shoulder. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the QEQM Hospital in Margate. X-rays confirmed she had suffered a complete dislocation of her shoulder, which was reduced under anaesthetic.

Following the accident, members of staff from the public house were seen applying grit/salt across the whole decking area. 

Despite undergoing a course of extensive physiotherapy to try and strengthen her shoulder, Mrs S suffered two further episodes of dislocation of her shoulder. Following each dislocation, she was significantly restricted in her daily activities and her ability to look after her children and was reliant on care and assistance from others on a daily basis. In light of the repeated dislocations suffered, she underwent surgery to stabilise her shoulder, together with further physiotherapy.

Our approach

Lyn Gibbons submitted the claim to the pub’s insurers. Liability was denied on the basis that they alleged the decking had been treated with an anti-slip solution by the landlords. In addition, they advised that the landlords had been in possession of anti-slip rubber matting for the decking at the time of the accident, but it was their practice to only place down this anti-slip rubber matting in bad weather. They alleged that on the day of the accident, it was a summer’s day but there had been a sudden heavy downpour and the rubber matting had not been put in place, as this rain had not been envisaged.

Evidence was obtained from a number of independent witnesses who confirmed that the wooden decking appeared to consist of untreated wood, which became very slippery underfoot when it became wet.  

Medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, which took into consideration the potential risk of further future dislocations and further surgery. A schedule of loss was submitted to include the care and assistance Mrs S had required following each dislocation and the surgery. The claim was brought on the basis that the pub had failed to take reasonable care for the safety of the Claimant. They could and should have taken the simple precaution of placing down the anti-slip rubber matting (which they had advised was already in the landlords’ possession) at all times, particularly given the changeable British weather.  Had they done so, the accident could have been avoided.  

The outcome

Court proceedings were issued and after negotiations, settlement of Mrs S’s claim was reached in a four figure sum, despite the landlords’ denial of liability throughout the claim.

Lyn Gibbons specialises in all aspects of personal injury claims. Visit her profile or call on 01622 680430 for further information.