Nelsons Wins Settlement in Tesco Door Injury Case

Nelsons has won settlement in a claim for damages for the estate of Margaret Buxton, 84 of Nottingham, who died from complications after automatic doors in a Tesco Extra Store closed suddenly and injured her.

The case was settled out of court, with Tesco admitting liability for the injuries sustained by Mrs Buxton. Sadly Mrs Buxton died before her claim could be settled. Her daughter, Mrs Susan Wilson continued the action on her mother's behalf.

Margaret Buxton visited the Tesco Extra Store on Long Row in Nottingham on 29 May 2008. She had stopped on her way home from the library to pick up some shopping. On leaving the store, she passed through the automatic doors but they closed suddenly. The doors remained closed, trapping her right leg and throwing her to the floor. They had to be opened manually. She suffered a laceration to her right lower leg, so an ambulance and her daughter Mrs Wilson had to be called by the store manager.

Mrs Buxton was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) where she was attended to and given morphine for her pain. As a result of the laceration, a haematoma (large blood clot) developed and then burst. She was transferred to City Hospital under the plastic surgeons for debridement (surgical cleaning of the wound) and skin grafting from her upper thigh. She underwent surgery on 30 May and remained in hospital for a total of five days. Shortly after discharge she was re-admitted for three days due to dehydration and suspected chest infection. Her health deteriorated following the accident, being in a lot of pain and depressed. She was unable to walk around easily and was frightened to go out. The scarring left by the injury and skin graft left her disfigured, which distressed her constantly.

The solicitor representing Mrs Wilson, Amy Grattan of Nelsons says: "Mrs Buxton was a much loved mother and grandmother who before the accident was living in good health and independently at the age of 83 in warden controlled accommodation. She enjoyed socialising and was a regular attendee at the WAFS - Women's Auxillary Ferrying Squadron.

"She suffered terrible injuries from the accident as a result of the faulty automatic doors which shut unexpectedly and forcefully, exposing an elderly lady with existing medical conditions to severe pain, suffering and distress. Medical opinion sought by Nelsons during investigation of her claim indicated that her age and regular medication with aspirin resulted in a severe outcome of the injury. It also suggested that her history of chronic chest infections and diabetes made her prone to post operative complications, stating that her treatment for the injury was a major precipitating factor for a subsequent chest infection.

"Our expert said that in the elderly, accidents and injuries like this can be the 'straw that breaks the camel's back.' This clearly appears to be the case for Mrs Buxton whose health and general demeanour diminished following the incident."

Mrs Wilson comments: "I believe that the accident contributed to my mum's death. She was never the same after her injury, letting herself go and losing all her confidence and spark. She had previously been admitted to hospital with past health problems and she had always been able to pick herself up and was very positive about life. The trauma that she went through shook her greatly, causing her health to deteriorate. I believe that had the accident not happened, she would be alive today."

Although in general good health, being mobile and only infrequently needing medical attention at the time of the injury, Mrs Buxton had a history and was receiving medication for Type II Diabetes, Ischaemic heart disease, Left Ventricular Failure, Hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

On 25 November 2008, Mrs Buxton was admitted to QMC having been found on the floor at home by her daughter. Indications are that she was suffering from Pneumonia. She later died in hospital on 6 December.

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