We acted for Mr S who with his team of scaffolders was instructed to attend scaffolding an industrial site to make alterations to which had been erected adjacent to a temporary boiler structure.
Mr S was positioned on a container roof when suddenly he heard a pop as the temporary upper boiler flow line hose ruptured. It sprayed pressurised boiling water, containing monoethylene glycerol, onto his legs. The air filled with steam, and due to the smell of the liquid being emitted, Mr S feared that he was being showered with acid. In order to escape, he jumped from the roof of the container to the floor.
He was taken to A&E before being transferred to the burns unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
He was found to have 6% mixed depth hot water burns to both legs. The burns were cleaned and dressed and he was discharged home the same day, but thereafter frequently attended the unit for dressing changes.
He spent the first three months resting with his legs elevated.
About four months after the accident he was able to return to work on a phased basis.
Six weeks later he presented to his GP with a three week history of a cough. He complained of swelling of his leg and on examination revealed a calf circumference larger on the left than on the right. An ultrasound was performed which revealed a chronic deep vein thrombosis present in the distal general vein and popliteal vein, extending to the calf. He was commenced on anticoagulation. He experienced breathlessness, chest pain and reflux.
After six months the anticoagulation was stopped, but Mr S was advised to continue using compression hosiery.
There was then a further episode of suspected DVT and anticoagulation was recommended. Mr S complained of low mood and became very tearful. We were instructed pursuant to a conditional fee agreement (‘no win, no fee’) and obtained an admission of liability from the site owners.
We obtained medico-legal reports from a plastic surgeon, psychiatrist and vascular surgeon. The plastic surgeon advised that the scarring on Mr S’s legs were not amenable to treatment. The psychiatrist diagnosed PTSD of mild to moderate severity but, following a course of treatment, Mr S reported significant improvement in his mental health.
The vascular surgeon advised that Mr S had developed post thrombotic syndrome, but advised that the risks of further complications were low.
We entered negotiations and settled the claim for £85,000 prior to the need to issue court proceedings.
Oliver Chapman specialises in personal injury litigation. If you would like to discuss a claim, please contact him on 01892 701234 in confidence.