Q: I badly hurt my back in an accident at work 2 years ago. Since then it has got much worse, to the point where I cannot even go to work anymore. My employers accepted that the accident was their fault but told me I won’t stand any chance of bringing a claim against them because the accident could not have caused my ongoing back pain. They said I would have probably suffered from back pain when I reached a certain age anyway. Is it still worth me pursuing a claim?
A: How can your employers tell that your accident wasn’t responsible for your ongoing back pain? Are they medical experts? Unlikely! The people best placed to tell you if your ongoing symptoms are a result of your accident are people with medical expertise.
The link between the accident and your pain is called causation. In order for you to bring a successful claim you will need to prove on the balance of probabilities that the accident caused or materially contributed to the pain you are now suffering.
It is difficult to prove causation in cases involving back pain, because many people will indeed suffer from issues with their back as they get older anyway. However, a medical expert should be instructed to provide their opinion on whether the accident caused your current condition, exacerbated an existing condition or accelerated an underlying condition. If any of those scenarios can be proved then it is likely you will succeed in a claim for compensation.
You should definitely look into pursuing a claim, especially since your employers have accepted that the accident was their fault. It would be advisable to instruct a local firm of solicitors who have experience with dealing with these sorts of cases and a wide range of medical contacts to assist you in investigating your claim.
(Article published 29/05/2017)