Award for repetitive strain injury

It is difficult enough to win upper-limb disorder cases but those cases that do succeed rarely result in a significant award of general damages.

In this case a woman, who was 50 years old at the date of trial, was employed as a personnel administrator where, as a result of a badly positioned desk and drawers, she suffered pain and tingling in the right hand from December 1998, when she was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. From April 1999 she suffered with a painful shoulder. On one occasion she experienced shooting pain to the right arm and collapsed when someone brushed past her. General damages were assessed at £2,160.

Routledge -v- Woolworths Plc Cambridge County Court 16 September 2004.

Mesothelioma apportionment

A live mesothelioma case was heard at Manchester High Court on 15 April against two defendants. DLA represented Bolton Council. The other defendant was an unrepresented and uninsured small building company. Evidence from a consulting engineer reported exposure at 40 per cent to Bolton Council and 60 per cent to the building company.

DLA agreed damages at £200,000 but argued that Judgment should be stayed against Bolton Council save for the 40 per cent that they accepted they were liable for, pending the outcome of the House of Lords appeal in Barker and others which is likely to be in May/June 2006. The Judge rejected their submission although it was finely balanced.

CICA awards

The claimant was a nursing assistant, and was playing football with clients and members of staff when a client pushed him. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The CICA eventually accepted that there had been a crime of violence. A medical report confirmed that he was 5 per cent disabled due to the incident. He had been off work for 17 months. At the hearing the appeal panel awarded him Level 10 Lower Limb; moderate damage to tendon/ligaments with continuing disability; £5,000. Due to the claimant having to undergo an operation and then an arthroscopy, the CICA also awarded Level 5 for this but he only received 10 per cent which is £200. There was also a loss of earnings award of £10,136.76.

We received an award of £1,800 in another CICA unusual case where a woman was concussed while working as a lunchtime supervisor at a school. She went into a portacabin to check on pupils. Two boys were playing football nearby. They had been asked to move away but failed to do so. One of them kicked the ball striking her on the head and she was knocked backwards against the door frame.

There was no report to the police; the school said it was an accident but the client was adamant that it was deliberate. The appeal panel found that it was a reckless act and was therefore a crime of violence.