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Compensation bid for leg injury

Woman holding her knee after injury
14th May 2014
The bid for a personal injury claim has been started by the young victim of a ligament injury who had her future career ruined.

Local newspaper the Central Somerset Gazette reports that 15-year-old Maddi Hufton slipped on a wet patch in her school hall in October, 2006.

She suffered a ligament injury to her left knee so severe that it took her three years to recover – dashing her chances of an army career.

The Keinton Mandeville teenager dreamed of serving in the elite King's Troop.

The subject of the personal injury claim took place when the former Ansford Community School pupil felt her feet suddenly go from underneath her during a break period.

She slipped on a damp patch in the hall, which was left by fellow pupils coming in after break on a wet morning.

Although the circumstances would appear innocuous, the consequences for Maddi could be devastating.

London's Appeal Court heard last week that the accident came at a critical moment in her education, and badly affected her GCSE results.

As well as intensive physiotherapy, she needed an arthroscopy operation, which contributed towards wrecking the keen horsewoman's hopes of serving in the historic royal horse artillery unit.

Maddi sued Somerset County Council for tens of thousands of pounds in accident compensation for what she felt was its part in causing the leg injury.

Her case however was initially thrown out by a judge in November last year.

But the Central Somerset Gazette reports her barrister renewed the fight at the Court of Appeal.

It's believed he told the court the hall's old-fashioned wooden floor was slippery when wet and had been the scene of a previous slipping accident involving a teacher in 2000.

At the time this prompted a risk assessment and a system was put in place whereby mats were laid down and pupils were banned from coming into the hall via a fire escape door on wet break times.

Maddi's lawyer however felt the system took no account of the possibility of "a change in the weather".

This could take place when break times start off dry - before becoming wet, as happened on the day of Maddi's accident.

Recognising the importance of the case, the three judges have now reserved their decision until a later date.

And hopefully in due course Maddi could receive the kind of payout that would allow her to get on with life, despite this difficult period of time.

Reported by Fiona Campbell