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Practices

Barrister who suffered a serious head injury obtains a significant award from Fleet Street wine bar

17 December 2012

Michael Waterworth, was a practising Barrister when he suffered catastrophic head injuries following a fall at Daly's Wine Bar owned by Chancery Inns Limited.  The evidence suggested that Michael had fallen backwards down stairs whilst returning from the bathroom.

The head injury was extremely severe and Michael required brain surgery and remained in a coma for 3 weeks. He is now at Northwick Park hospital neuro rehabilitation ward. He is making slow but steady progress. It is expected that he will need lifelong care and support.

The Claimant's case was that these particular stairs were steep and that at the point at which the stairs narrowed (in a winder fashion), there was a gap in the handrail.  The allegation from the Claimant was that had there been a continuous handrail and better lighting, then this accident would have been prevented and Michael would have been able to prevent his fall. 

Liability was denied by the Defence. 

Michael's lawyer Jill Greenfield, a brain injury partner with Field Fisher Waterhouse solicitors, was instructed in June 2012 and was able to reach an agreement with the Defence in October in which a substantial sum in settlement was accepted by the Claimant's wife, Caroline, without an admission of fault. That settlement was today approved by the Honourable Mr Justice Ramsay.

Michael’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 on an evening which should have been a celebration of legal achievement for some of his professional friends. 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 at Field Fisher Waterhouse working with Elizabeth Ann Gumbel QC and Henry Witcomb have brought the matter to a conclusion. This will allow us and our family to adjust to the new set of circumstances we face.”

Jill Greenfield says, "This is such a dreadfully tragic situation. I just hope that Michael is able to make some progress and to have some quality of life. Falling down the stairs is a serious cause of head injuries and in our view something as simple as a continuous hand rail could have made a very real difference."


For further information, please contact:

Jill Greenfield, Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on 0207 861 4557/ 07917 769 474

Ibrahim Kamara, PR & Communications Manager, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on 020 7861 4120