Most people walk away from apparently minor accidents almost unhurt, whilst others suffer catastrophic consequences. In a unique case on point, an IT manager who was stricken by a range of life-changing symptoms after hitting his head on a low ceiling at work was awarded more than £500,000 in compensation.
The man was helping a colleague to remove office furniture from a cellar when he hit his head. He launched proceedings against his employer at the time on the basis that the accident caused a traumatic brain injury. The employer admitted liability for the accident but argued that the man had suffered a commonplace bump to the head that had no long-term consequences at all.
Ruling on the matter, the High Court rejected allegations that he had deliberately exaggerated his symptoms and that his claim was fundamentally dishonest. The Court was satisfied that he did suffer brain damage that caused vomiting, visual disturbances, migraine headaches and post-traumatic amnesia in the aftermath of the accident. Medical records described a rapid deterioration in his condition, culminating in suicidal thoughts and inpatient treatment.
Although his long-term symptoms had a strong psychological component, that did not render them any less real from his point of view. He had been consistent in his complaints to doctors and had suffered, or at least perceived that he had suffered, a constellation of symptoms including memory loss, fatigue, reduced motivation and concentration, personality change and detachment from reality.
He was awarded a total of more than £570,000 in damages and interest, including £40,000 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity and over £400,000 in respect of his past and future loss of earnings.