Clinical Negligence

Damages recovered following vestibular injury

We acted for Mrs L who had worked as a bookseller for Waterstones for about 16 years.

On the day of the accident she was standing at the sink in the staffroom.  She opened a wall mounted cupboard above the sink in order to take out a spoon.  As she opened the cupboard, three or four heavy boxes containing till paper fell off the top of a cupboard and struck her on the head.

The store manager attended to Mrs L and acknowledged that he had placed the boxes on the top of the cupboard.

Following the accident Mrs L developed headache and dizziness.  She left work early and attended A&E that evening.  She was subsequently diagnosed by a consultant neurologist as having persistent post-concussion syndrome.  Her symptoms included, but were not limited to, persistent headaches, emotional lability, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and anxiety.

The treating neurologist referred her for some vestibular rehabilitation and she received some input from a neurological physiotherapist, but this was limited.

Mrs L’s symptoms continued after nearly two years and she instructed this firm.

The defendant admitted liability and then made a number of offers, which were rejected.

We obtained a report from a consultant neuropsychiatrist, who considered that she had not suffered a brain injury, but she had suffered mild PTSD and adjustment disorder.

We considered that her enduring symptoms were most likely to be explained by a vestibular injury.  We arranged for Mrs L to be seen by an audiovestibular physician who considered that the head injury sustained in the accident resulted in visually induced dizziness and post traumatic migraine with vestibular symptoms.  It was likely that as a result of those injuries Mrs L had impaired vestibulospinal responses, and physical deconditioning which would account for her falls ascending (but not descending) stairs.  She had sound sensitivity, which can accompany post traumatic migraines.

The expert recommended audiovestibular rehabilitation which, over a 12 month period, was likely to cost around £10,000.  Provided Mrs L received that rehabilitation, her prognosis was good.

Mrs L was very keen to avoid litigation and accordingly we negotiated a settlement of £75,000 which she is now using to obtain the required therapies.

Oliver Chapman specialises in personal injury cases.  If you would like to ask Oliver Chapman a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Oliver at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701234 in confidence.

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