Worker on Construction Site gets £160,000.00 for Electrocution
The Claimant was 34-years old when he was injured in an accident which occurred. He was working on a construction site as a foreman/plant operative. He was required to dig a trial hole and suffered electrocution as a result.
He was taken to the hospital and had 2-weeks off work but never made a recovery. He was found to be suffering from a severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He continued working in spite of nightmares, panic attacks, upset and tension, headaches, depression and aggression.
The Claimant sought medical advice and submitted himself to all required medical tests and investigations. He developed a tremor and suffered from weakness on the affected side. Each day at work became an ordeal and torment for the Claimant who was advised that work was reinforcing the post-traumatic stress disorder. The Claimant came away from work approximately 3-years after the date of the accident. Liability was admitted by the Defendants.
An interim payment was obtained which was sufficient to enable the Claimant to meet his immediate needs of subsistence but also to pay for a programme of psychiatric treatment comprising therapy under the supervision of a consultant psychiatrist. The Claimant underwent this treatment at which stage he was advised to consider starting a course of reintroduction into the workplace and/or suitable training in alternate work.
Diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder rejected
The Defendants obtained medical evidence which did not accept the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
As matters advanced procedurally and at the point at which the key psychiatric doctors were required to meet and provide a joint statement and at which the Claimant had been advised to apply for a trial on the single issue of the psychiatric consequences of the accident to be determined by the Court, the Defendants offered to settle the claim. They initially offered £100,000.00. This offer was increased to £150,000.00. In the event the claim settled at the sum of £160,000.00.
The Claimant was advised by Counsel at the time of issue of the proceedings. However, no reliance was placed on Counsel with regard to negotiation of settlement.
The Claimant was an exceptionally anxious and disturbed person throughout the course of the case and required detailed and considerate advice both at meetings and in correspondence. He presented as a man in torment. Evidence was also taken from the Claimant’s wife who was equally distressed about the sequence of events which had taken over her and her husband’s life since the accident had occurred. She offered evidence which would have been the greatest support to the Claimant had the Court been called upon to determine the single issue of medical causation in this matter.
However, in the meantime the Claimant’s condition had had the effect of causing separations and upsets within the family. The Claimant was invariably distressed when giving instructions and was often tearful. He was throughout concerned about the prospect of being able to look after his family if he could not work but at the same time distressed by the prospect that work would only reinforce the post-traumatic stress disorder from which he suffered as a result of the accident.
Exacerbating features included the Claimant being upset, distressed and tearful when examined by the Defendants’ consultant psychiatrist to the extent that had the matter proceeded to trial the Claimant’s case would have been that the Defendants’ psychiatrist could not be regarded as a reasonable medical examiner. Similarly, the Claimant was placed under surveillance by the Defendants (to no avail as the Claimant was entirely genuine).
The presence of a private investigator in the Claimant’s neighbourhood, asking questions and placing the Claimant under surveillance greatly upset the Claimant and threatened to undo the good work being done in the course of the Claimant’s psychiatric treatment which was being funded by the Defendants out of the interim payment voluntarily made by the Defendants.