Child injured in Devon shop wins compensation
Injury lawyer Rachel Thain has recently settled a compensation claim on behalf of a child injured in a Devon shop. The case highlights the need for patience to avoid under-settling accident compensation claims.
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When our client was only one year old, she was out shopping with her parents in Barnstaple, Devon. She was attracted by a balloon display near to a Clintons Card shop and went over to look. As she did so, she tripped and fell. Her face was caught by the frame of the shutter door outside the shop. Unfortunately the metal frame was damaged and a sharp edge was protruding. This caused the toddler to suffer a serious laceration to her cheek.
It was immediately clear to her parents that the child had suffered a severe injury. They rushed her to their local hospital for urgent treatment. She is thought to have lost consciousness during her journey to the hospital from shock, but was thankfully alert by the time they arrived. As well as the wound to her face, the force of the fall had also caused bruising around her face and left eye. The cut was so significant she required an operation under general anesthetic the following morning to clean and stitch the wound.
Thankfully, the injuries healed well with no major complications. However, the little girl was left with a significant scar to her left cheek. Her family approached Slee Blackwell's specialist personal injury team for help a few months after the accident and we agreed to take the case on under a No Win, No Fee agreement.
A letter of claim was immediately sent to the owner of the shop, highlighting how dangerous the shutter frame had become and describing the serious nature of the injuries suffered. Legal responsibility for the accident was quickly admitted by the insurers for the Devon shop. They fully accepted that the shop's negligence had caused the girl's injuries and agreed to pay her compensation.
Arrangements were made for the child to be assessed by a local plastic surgeon. She was also seen by a psychologist, as there were concerns regarding the psychological impact the scarring might have on her as she became older and more aware of the scar.
In the vast majority of personal injury cases, compensationcan can be agreed and paid within a reasonably quick timeframe. However, settlements are once and for all. There is no going back for a second bite of the cherry. Our specialist personal injury team therefore recognised the possibility that the claim could be under-valued if settlement was made too soon. This is because the impact of the scar on the little girl was likely to change as she got older, and it was not possible to predict with any certainty the way in which this might happen.
In consutation with her mother we delayed settlement for many years. When she was 14 years of age, Rachel arranged for her to be re-examined by a Consultant Plastic Surgeon to assess how her scarring had changed over time. It was confirmed the scar had reached it final state and was permanent in nature. Non-invasive treatment recommendations were made by the expert which were aimed at reducing the appearance of the scar where possible.
Because of the permanent nature of the scarring, Rachel arranged for a consultation to take place with a Cosmetic Camouflage expert. Even high-end makeup available on the high street was not suitable for covering the scar to her face, so we felt that further expert advice was needed. She received recommendations for products and a lesson in the best use of specialist makeup to fully conceal the scar. This was a useful exercise as she was beginning to experiment with makeup.
As well as recovering compensation for her client’s injuries, Rachel also obtained funding for the private treatment recommended by the plastic surgeon along with the cost of specialist cosmetic camouflage makeup for the rest of her life. This means she will always have the option to use these specialist products without losing out due to the higher cost.
Settlement was agreed, and subsequently approved by the Court with the total compensation amounting to over £36,000. The family were very pleased with the outcome.
Rachel praised the family’s patience in waiting for the claim to be concluded. The family were a pleasure to work with, and their commitment to ensuring we could obtain the best possible outcome for our client allowed us to investigate every possible avenue of compensation.