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Blackwater Law successfully claimed compensation for Mr Bethell, a 62-year-old cyclist hit by a car, who had serious injuries to his shoulder, elbow and knee as a result.
Mr Bethall was 62 at the time of his accident. He was riding his bicycle on the main road when a car emerged from a minor road into his path, colliding with the Claimant. Mr Bethall fell onto the ground sustaining a shoulder injury – tear of the rotator cuff muscles to his right shoulder; an elbow injury – soft tissue injury to his right elbow with an 8×3 cm scar and a knee injury – a tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus in his left knee.
Mr Bethall called Blackwater Law personal injury solicitors for advice on claiming compensation for his cycling accident. Blackwater Law’s Kamila Jaskula (a specialist personal injury lawyer) provided free initial advice and agreed to represent Mr Bethall on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Blackwater Law instructed an orthopaedic expert to provide specialist medical evidence in support of Mr Bethall’s compensation claim. The medical expert confirmed that there will not be any further improvement in the Claimant’s current state of the shoulder, therefore his shoulder injury is permanent.
The effect of the accident on Mr Bethall’s work was considerable and he suffered a diminution in his income from his privately owned business and from his part-time additional employment.
The Defendant’s insurers made a pre-medical offer of £20,000 which Blackwater Law advised Mr Bethall not to accept. The Defendant’s insurers alleged that Mr Bethall failed to mitigate his losses by refusing shoulder surgery to repair the rotator cuff muscles. However, the Defendant’s allegations were dismissed by Mr Bethall’s personal injury lawyer, Kamila Jaskula. Blackwater Law argued that the burden of proof lies on the Defendants to demonstrate that the Claimant failed to mitigate his loss by refusing surgery.
It was the opinion of the orthopaedic expert instructed by Kamila Jaskula that surgical repair of the rotator muscles is possible with small tears but with large tears (such as that suffered by Mr Bethall) it may not be technically possible to repair. Additionally, a shoulder rarely returns to normal function even after a successful surgical repair of the rotator cuff muscles. Given the Claimant’s age (62 at time of the accident) and the extent of the injury; it was the expert’s view that the Claimant’s decision to turn down the shoulder surgery was reasonable. It was highly unlikely to have restored function completely.
Upon disclosure of the first medical report, the Defendant’s insurers made an offer of compensation in the sum of £20,000. Again, Blackwater Law’s advice to Mr Bethall was to reject the offer, waiting instead until a supportive medico-legal report had been provided by the Orthopaedic Expert following the Claimant’s arthroscopy of the knee.
A compensation settlement was eventually agreed on in the sum of £25,000.
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