AF v MW Ltd (Workplace injury)

The parties have acknowledged that referral to Independent Evaluation was the only prospect of avoiding the litigation process through to trial, in what was almost a single-issue large employers’ liability claim. Everyone involved proclaimed themselves more than satisfied with the result:

• “Thanks for doing such a great job yesterday. I was thrilled to have concluded the claim and the costs.”
• “It was my first time attending an Independent Evaluation and it was fascinating to watch. I’d definitely use it in future on the right case and found Mr Lewis to be an excellent evaluator.”
• “It was very effective …. Settlement of AF’s claim was a very good outcome, for all parties.”

A young adult Claimant sustained a devastating injury to his dominant hand on a circular saw. Liability was never in dispute. The Claimant had been able to complete his training to become a carpenter and secured work in the construction industry. However, his earnings were low and he was compromised in his ability to perform skilled carpentry and heavier tasks.

The claim was ambitiously pleaded at over £1m and included a large future loss of earnings claim based upon an Ogden-type calculation. The Defendant was willing to accept a Blamire type award only.

During the IE hearing the Evaluator was able to test the parties legal arguments in private sessions, with the result that many of the peripheral employment related claims were dismissed (e.g. loss of congenial employment). More significantly, the opportunity for the Evaluator to discuss privately and at length the effects of the injury on employment with the Claimant and his father, provided the best insight into the Claimant’s likely future losses: this simply could not have been obtained otherwise without a court hearing.

The result of this detailed forensic process was an adjusted Ogden-type calculation, which produced an evaluated figure significantly higher than the Defendant’s previous offers. However, having had the opportunity to explore this thoroughly with the evaluator, the Defendant willingly accepted the detailed and justified evaluation. Moreover, with the evaluation in place the facilitation stage lead rapidly to a settlement being achieved: the great saving in costs bridging the distance between the Defendant’s offers and the evaluated figure. Lengthy, hard-fought litigation and a trial were avoided, and the Claimant was able to move ahead with his life.

Evaluator: Andrew Lewis QC