High profile court case shows strong medical evidence is crucial for successful personal injury claims

Rachael Stibbe

Senior Associate

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January 17, 2024

A personal injury specialist with leading South East law firm Furley Page says a recent court case shows the vital role of strong medical evidence to support successful claims for financial compensation.

Rachael Stibbe, Senior Associate in the Personal Injury team at Furley Page, was the lead lawyer on a recent case involving a compensation claim against Stella McCartney Ltd. The claimant, Chloe Mickelborough, was injured at the fashion house’s Milan showroom in December 2018 during the course of her work, falling through what she thought was solid flooring and sustaining serious injury to her ankle.

Miss Mickelborough was recently awarded £60,000 in compensation following a trial at Central London County Court, with Ms McCartney’s company also ordered to pay £60,000 towards her legal fees.

Commenting on the case, Rachael said: “This was a challenging case and our client was aware that there was no guarantee as to the outcome. Essentially, we needed to establish a duty of care existed from her employer to her, that this duty was breached by her employer, that the accident caused her injury, and that it also caused her financial losses. There had been no warnings that the surface was unsafe to bear her weight and therefore she was totally unaware the area was an unsafe place of work.

“Strong medical evidence is a crucial aspect of any personal injury claim, and we carefully selected the expertise of our medical experts and counsel (Mr Michael Patrick, Hailsham Chambers) to ensure our medical evidence clearly substantiated how the accident caused the injury, as well as explaining the diagnosis and prognosis of the injury to include any long-term effects and disabilities. Our client could also claim for any reasonable financial losses incurred due to her injury, including loss of earnings, costs for care and assistance, and private medical costs.

“We were pleased with the judge’s verdict that Stella McCartney Ltd was largely at fault for the accident and resulting injury. The bottom line is that if there is a real and foreseeable risk of injury, the employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to reduce and, if possible, eliminate the risk. Clearly, in this case, all the Defendant needed to do was install at least one visually prominent sign and our client would never have stepped over the railings and so would never have sustained a serious ankle injury which will affect her for the rest of her life.”

Stella McCartney Ltd’s lawyers had argued that Miss Mickelborough was the ‘author of her misfortune,’ as she had climbed over a railing to access an unauthorised area. The judge found Miss Mickelborough was partly to blame in entering an area that was fenced off, and reduced her claim from £90,000 to £60,000, finding her liable for a third of the responsibility.

If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, then it is in your best interests to obtain legal advice from an appropriately qualified specialist solicitor who will be able to assess whether or not you are likely to be able to bring a successful personal injury claim.

For further information, please contact Rachael Stibbe on 01227 763939 or email res@furleypage.co.uk




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