During the course of the evening he went to the bathroom at Daly’s wine bar which was situated down steep stairs. On his return up the stairs he fell. The evidence suggested that he had fallen from the very top of the stairs to the bottom and he suffered an extremely serious brain injury. He required brain surgery and remained in a coma for several weeks.
It was clear upon his emergence from coma that this was a life changing event. His communication difficulties are now poor. Michael has undergone several surgeries and is undergoing rehabilitation.
Personal injury expert, Jill Greenfield was instructed by Michael’s wife, Caroline Waterworth (also a barrister) in June 2012 to pursue the Claim. The claim centred on the lack of a sufficient handrail on the particular stairway. This stairway was a "winder" curving to the left; which meant that steps on the left curved around the corner and narrowed as they did. It was Michael’s case that the handrail was insufficient. The hand rail leading up the stairs stopped, there was then a gap and then the hand rail recommenced around the corner. This meant that at the point of the corner itself there was no handrail. We argued that this was in breach of British Standards for winder stairways.
The Claimant denied liability. It should be noted that cases involving stairways are notoriously difficult. The case progressed at a very quick pace and was concluded within 5 months of initial instruction. A compromise settlement for a significant sum was agreed and approved before Mr Justice Ramsay 11th December 2012.
Micheal's wife Caroline says:
"Michael and I would never have imagined that this could have happened from something as simple as climbing a flight of stairs. We are immensely grateful for all of the support and good wishes we have received during the last six months and we are particularly thankful for the compassionate and efficient manner with which Jill Greenfield brought the matter to a conclusion. This will allow us and our family to adjust to the new set of circumstances we face."
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