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Birthday celebrations end with fractured ankle

Our client was attending a birthday party at a Country Club, along with her husband and relatives.

Despite being the designated driver and not drinking, she was enjoying the evening and had been dancing several times.

As the evening went on, she headed to the dance floor once again. This time, as she stepped on to the wooden floor she skidded, landing heavily on her bottom, with both feet out in front of her.

Although not in immediate pain, her foot was distorted and it was obvious there was a nasty injury.

Looking around, she could see that the cause of her slip was a slice of tomato on the dance floor; a slice of cucumber also laid close by.

She was taken by ambulance to the local A&E where X-rays showed a dislocated heel and 5 fractures to her ankle.

Her heel was manipulated back into place and she was admitted for surgery to insert pins and a metal plate to stabilise the fractures.

After surgery, she was fitted with a back slab that ran from her foot up to her knee and was unable to weight bear for 9 weeks.

Fortunately, she was self-employed and in a position that she did not suffer loss of income. However, she did incur costs by having to employ others to undertake the work she was unable to carry out.

Further losses were incurred as she was unable to attend several social events that she had bought tickets for and was unable to obtain refunds.

She had to have help with household tasks and as she was unable to drive, She also had to have help taking the children to and from school and to after school activities.

The legal position

Occupiers of premises (whether they own the premises or lease them) have a legal obligation to make sure that everyone using the premises is safe from harm. In this case, under the terms and conditions of the room booking, the premises were also covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act; therefore, the venue had a legal obligation to ensure that floors were free from food debris.

After lengthy negotiations with the insurers an out of court settlement of over £18,000 was reached; this included compensation for the pain and suffering endured and also recovery of costs and expenditure incurred as a result of the injury.

Author: Gail Harris

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