Personal Injury Case Study – Doug McQueen

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Injury Claim

Personal injury can be a very complex area- due to the very nature of the case, complexity of the law, serious injury and on occasions a difficult Defendant.

In order to succeed with a personal injury claim the Claimant must prove negligence on part of the Defendant, and furthermore, that the negligence led to the injury complained of.

The injury must be supported by a report from an independent medico legal expert whom has the qualifications, training and experience to provide evidence in Court.  The report must provide a breakdown of any pre-existing medical condition, the accident, the injury sustained and a prognosis for the future dealing with any affect this will have on future activities and ability to work. 

On many occasions the medico legal expert needs questioning on certain aspects of the injury in order to substantiate important parts of the claim.

Any person considering making a personal injury claim should always seek professional legal advice. Ison Harrison deals with every type of personal injury claim and has the experience of dealing with high value and complex cases.

One recent example of such was the case of Macqueen v GPS.

The Defendants on this occasion assured the Claimant that he didn’t need a solicitor and offered him £5,000.00 for his injuries.

Doug McQueen was a master skipper and the grandson of the famous “Granny Spencer,” who delivered papers from Oban to the Island of Mull in any weather for a number of years- she was still sailing at the age of 89!  Sailing wasn’t just a job to Doug; it was a vocation, his way of life and in his blood.

In October 2012 Doug was working on a vessel which was being prepared to travel to Rosyth in Scotland but was moored at Chatham on the south west coast of England. Doug was returning to his quarters below deck.  He descended a stepladder to his quarters and immediately fell through a hatch in the floor of his quarters.  Doug fell into the bilge of the vessel breaking his back and injuring his knee.  

The hatch had been left open by an engineer carrying out some maintenance work below deck. None of the crew had been informed of this work and there was no warning sign, communication or visual indication that work was taking place. Immediately after the accident Doug crawled to his bunk and didn’t move for three days whilst waiting to reach shore. As soon as he did, he flew home to Leeds.

The Defendants attempted to argue that Doug was partly to blame for the accident for not looking where he was going.  Ison Harrison argued that it would have been very difficult for Doug to watch his step as he was descending a vertical set of step ladders- backwards!

A further issue arose when it was found that Doug was not initially x-rayed upon attending hospital. It wasn’t until Doug attended an appointment at Guys Hospital in London that fractures to his spine were discovered.

This caused a complex legal issue later on in proceedings when the Defendants attempted to evade liability for Doug’s injuries on the basis that the failure to X-ray Doug was an intervening act (when in fact it was not) something the Defendants later accepted after a long legal battle.

Doug was left with constant back pain as a direct result of the accident which is now managed by regular facet joint injections. As well as having to live with the pain, Doug has been unable to return to his work. 

Undoubtedly, this accident has changed the course of Doug’s entire life.  

Thankfully he approached Ison Harrison, and our expert personal injury lawyer and Head of Personal Injury Gareth Naylor took on his case which ultimately resulted in Doug receiving a reward significantly greater than the initial offer. 

The case was issued out of the Admiralty Court at the Royal Courts of Justice, taking in numerous complex and contentious issues such as contributory negligence, causation, medical evidence and medical negligence.  Late disclosure of surveillance footage also created a last-minute issue.  

Doug now has the finances to enjoy his retirement and is providing an invaluable service with Safe Anchor where he voluntarily pilots barges along the canals for disabled children.

Doug commented:

'When I first met Gareth he came to my home to discuss this matter with me. I was very impressed by the way he conducted himself and his professional attitude towards me. As the case continued he was always on the other end of the phone if I needed any advice. I would strongly advise anyone who has a personal injury claim to contact Ison Harrison.'

Head of Personal Injury Gareth Naylor commented:

'Had Doug taken that paltry offer 4 years ago it would have been a huge mistake.  He would have been left, aged 62, with no ability to earn and no finances to fund his retirement.  This is a perfect example of the thorny issues surrounding personal injury claims, and why you should always seek proper legal advice. 

This was a difficult personal injury admiralty case, with a number of complex issues and an uncooperative Defendant.  Whilst Doug had to give up a job he loved, I am pleased that we have recovered funds for him to enjoy his retirement and is able to give something back to the community through his voluntary work.

He was kind enough to take my family on one particular trip where my two sons enjoyed steering the barge with Doug, whom liken his name to Lightening Macqueen!'

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