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In safe hands

The CSP can help you and your family seek compensation after a personal injury. Robert Millett reports

Physiotherapy lecturer Craig Walker was injured on his way home from work in December 2011. He was cycling to catch a train at Derby rail station when the accident happened.

‘A car suddenly pulled out from a T-junction and just wiped me out,’ says Mr Walker.

‘I went straight into the driver’s door and ended up on the road. I managed to get back up again and cycled off to catch my train – which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best thing to do.’

He woke up the next morning with bruising and pain in his right knee, shoulder and back.

Most of the injuries cleared up within three weeks, but his right knee remained swollen and painful to walk on. So he started to attend physiotherapy sessions and began rehabilitation exercises at home.

‘After three months it still wasn’t getting any better,’ said Mr Walker. ‘So I went to my GP and asked if they would refer me for an MRI scan.’

The scan showed a lesion in the cartilage, as well as some wear and tear in the joint.

Mr Walker knew that CSP members benefit from a free personal injury service through Thompsons legal services. So he got in touch with them.

‘I gave them details of the person who knocked me off my bike. And they also wanted to know about the impact of the injury to my work, any loss of earnings and the cost of any equipment or prescription charges,’ he said.

Thompsons sent Mr Walker to have his injury assessed by an independent consultant, who concluded that the lesion was primarily due to trauma, but could not be solely attributed to the accident.

Mr Walker went on to have micro-fracture surgery on his knee, but still experiences problems. ‘I can walk and cycle but I used to be involved in competitive sports like running marathons, which I can’t do now,’ he said.

Almost two years after the accident, he received £5,000 in compensation.

‘The legal process was quite lengthy, but it was beneficial and because it was free through the CSP it was certainly worth doing,’ said Mr Walker. He found the staff were approachable and easily contactable.

Burned in the water

In April 2011 physiotherapist Chris Keats was injured while working in the hydrotherapy pool of a private hospital in London.

‘I was going through exercises with patients in the pool,’ said Mr Keats.

‘I usually spent about three hours in the water in the morning and another three in the afternoon. But that day, after about an hour, I noticed a red rash developing all over my stomach, legs, back and arms.’

Thinking it might be some sort of allergic reaction Mr Keats finished his shift, went home and took some antihistamine tablets.

But it later transpired that the chlorine regulating system had malfunctioned and Mr Keats had suffered chemical burns as a result.

‘The CSP was my first port of call,’ said Mr Keats. ‘I put in a personal injury claim almost immediately and they gave me advice about what was needed. I had to submit a written explanation of what had happened, along with evidence.’

The accident left Mr Keats in considerable discomfort and he was prescribed steroidal creams by a dermatologist to help manage the symptoms.

‘I couldn’t return to hydrotherapy because my skin was so sensitive, and was even painful in sunlight,’ he said.

‘So I did ward work instead and worked weekends and extra hours to make up for the money I was losing.’

Mr Keats has now fully recovered but he says it took about 12 weeks for the pain to subside, and his skin remained highly sensitive for more than six months.

His personal injury claim was finalised in April 2013, when he received compensation of £2,000.

‘It took two years, but it was certainly worth doing and it was good to get closure,’ said Mr Keats.

‘I would advise other members who make an injury claim to keep meticulous records of the evidence. This can include paperwork, your own accounts and medical reports.’

Personal injury cover

All CSP members are entitled to access the free personal injury service provided by Thompsons.  The overall success rate is over 98 per cent and the latest figures show that CSP members have been awarded more than £330,000 worth of damages so far this year.

Of these cases, the individual amounts received by members ranged from £2,000 to £275,000. Yet despite these statistics, just 23 members approached Thompsons last year for advice on personal injury claims.

Jess Belmonte, CSP national officer, monitors the claims made by members and keeps track of the outcomes.

She says many members are unaware of the full benefits of the service, and do not realise that their relatives are also eligible to use it in the case of non-work related injuries.  ‘The service is easy to access and it’s completely free for you and your family,’ says Mrs Belmonte.

‘We know that members may feel reluctant to take out a personal injury claim as it conjures up images of “ambulance-chasing” lawyers and no-win, no-fee adverts on the TV.

However, the CSP believes that if members have suffered financial loss and distress following an injury then they are entitled to compensation.  In addition, going through the personal injury process can mean that changes are made to ensure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.’

She advises members to contact Thompsons promptly after any accidents occur or as soon as long-term problems from an injury become apparent, as in most cases there is a three-year time limit for claims to be made. fl

All CSP members and their relatives (including unmarried partners) are entitled to access Thompsons’ free personal injury service, whether the injury happens at work or elsewhere.

For further details, contact Thompsons on: 0800 587 7519 (available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday) giving your CSP membership number. Or visit them here and click the link to ‘claim online’.

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