Client: Kevin Chen (name changed)
Claim: Accident at work (no win no fee) claim
Claimant’s Lawyer: Jack Hudson, LLB (Hons), Chartered Legal Executive at Donoghue Solicitors
- £70,000 work accidents compensation
- £15,000 benefits repayment to the Compensation Recovery Unit
- legal fees.
Kevin Chen was a luxury motorcoach driver in his mid-40s. He was healthy, fit, and the kind of person who took great pride in his work.
His job involved lengthy periods of waiting around, especially when “out in the field”. During a break in a trip, Kevin inspected his expensive vehicle. It was dirty from the journey. This was unacceptable to both Kevin and his employers, so he immediately got to work cleaning it. The vehicle’s height meant he had to use a ladder, which Kevin had no alternative but to climb alone.
This turned out to be a terrible decision. Mr Chen fell off the ladder, fracturing his left shin, and dislocating his ankle.
Kevin was taken to hospital where he had surgery to secure the break, set his ankle, and insert pins and screws to hold everything in place. He also suffered a nerve injury to his left big toe during surgery. (This was not medical negligence, but was a known risk given the location of the injury.)
How Donoghue Solicitors Helped with the Accident at Work Claim
Mr Chen had been severely injured in an accident at work. He was struggling to recover and needed physical therapy to help with constant pain. And he missed eight months of work, which meant that Kevin had money worries too. He had to go on benefits to help with lost earnings and out of pocket expenses.
Despite all these things, like many people, Kevin was cautious about bringing a personal injury claim. He was reluctant to sue his employer, but they forced his hand by withholding pay. This left Kevin with no alternative but to investigate bringing a personal injury accident claim.
He researched accident at work no win no fee solicitors and contacted Donoghue Solicitors.
Kevin spoke with Jack Hudson, Chartered Legal Executive.
Mr Hudson reviewed the case and felt that Kevin had a potential claim. He explained, “Understandably, Kevin was reluctant to sue his employers. But I felt he had an arguable claim for compensation applying the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), negligence, and other laws.
“This is because PUWER puts the duty on the employer to make sure that the work equipment used by their employees is suitable, safe, and operated following health and safety rules.
“On Kevin’s version of events, his use, and fall from, the ladder appeared to breach the Regulations.”
Mr Hudson was willing to take Kevin’s case and investigate further. But Mr Chen was concerned that he would be at financial risk. So, following investigations, Jack agreed to represent him on a no win no fee basis. This meant that Kevin did not have to fund his claim out of pocket. Instead, he would pay a success fee, but only if his claim was successful. Jack confirmed in writing that, if the claim was unsuccessful, Kevin would not have to pay legal fees.
Reassured, Mr Chen signed a conditional fee agreement (also known as a “no win no fee” agreement).
The Accident at Work No Win No Fee Claims Process
Jack Hudson submitted Kevin’s claim to Mr Chen’s employers. Using a formal Letter of Claim, Mr Hudson:
- laid out the facts and law as it applied to his client’s case
- explained how the company had breached the relevant laws
- invited them to accept responsibility (known as “liability” in legal proceedings).
As Jack noted, “Sensibly, Kevin’s employer’s insurers responded by accepting liability. But they alleged that Kevin was partially responsible, under the legal doctrine of contributory negligence. If proven, this would reduce, or even wipe out, Kevin’s compensation. This was not acceptable, so I fought back; hard.”
- told the insurers his client would not accept any reduction in compensation for contributory negligence
- got a £10,000 advance on damages for Kevin, which helped with his immediate financial situation and meant that he could concentrate on getting better.
How We Proved the Work Accident Compensation Claim
Jack set about preparing his client’s claim for trial. He arranged for a specialist orthopaedic surgeon to medically examine Kevin and prepare a written report about his personal injuries, surgery, and post-operative recovery.
Mr Hudson knew that this evidence was crucial because, “The surgeon confirmed that they were all caused by the fall. This meant I could seek the maximum compensation for his claim.”
The doctor also found that Kevin:
- had a 20% chance of needing further surgery. If so, he would need more time off work
- was at risk of developing osteo-arthritis
- still had pain in his big toe. But the expert felt that it would get better over time and was likely to become little more than a nuisance
- was off work for 7-8 months as a result of the injury.
With all the evidence to hand, Jack calculated Kevin’s likely personal injury compensation. He estimated Kevin’s claim would be worth in the region of £30,000 or so if valued by a judge at court. “But valuing claims is not a precise science,” he explained. “Judges have broad discretion, and you never know how things will play out at court.”
He sent full details of Kevin’s accident at work (no win no fee) claim to the insurers. They responded by offering to settle without formal court proceedings.
Mr Hudson refused. “I was very confident in Kevin’s case, even though contributory negligence was still a live issue,” he explained. “I was determined to take it to trial, if need be, and negotiated as if it was my own money on the line.”
Initial negotiations resulted in an offer of £40,000, plus the £10,000 interim payment, and £15,000 in repayable benefits.
Kevin was happy with that, but Jack sensed the insurers could go higher. He advised Kevin to reject the offer. Mr Chen was confident in Jack’s abilities and authorised him to continue negotiations.
Jack pushed and pushed. Eventually, he settled Kevin’s accident claims for £60,000, plus the £10,000 advance payment, and repayment of his benefits. This was a full £20,000 (50%) more than Mr Chen expected, and at the top level for injuries of this kind. It also meant that there was no reduction for contributory negligence.
As well as the compensation, Kevin was relieved that he won his case without the time and stress of court proceedings, and he got his legal costs paid. Understandably, he was delighted with the result and Mr Hudson’s efforts.
Get the compensation you deserve for your injury compensation claim by:
- contacting Donoghue Solicitors on (freephone) 08000 124 246, or
- completing the contact form on this page.