Serious Injury Assessment: Spine and Brain -

Axelson v Rondalia Assurance Corporation of SA Ltd 1967 (1A4) QOD 794 (N)


Multiple injuries — Shoulder and burns — Fractured shoulder-blade and burns on back — Skin-graft
and disfigurement — 20 per cent disability in left shoulder — Multiple abrasions and contusions —
Severe pain — Housewife — Shock, pain and suffering, R1,000(£500)— Disability, disfigurement and
loss of amenities, R2,000(£1,000)— Total, R3,000(£1,500).
As the result of a motor collision, road accident, whilst driving a motor-car, a housewife had sustained a fractured
scapula involving the glenoid fossa, i.e. a fracture of the shoulder-blade involving also the cavity in
which the head of the humerus moves and forms the shoulder joint. She had also suffered second
degree burns of the lumbar region of the back over an area of about eleven inches long, as well as
multiple abrasions of both legs and contusions about the wall of the abdomen, arms and face. A skingraft
had to be done over the site of the burn, which left a large scar, visible when she bathed,
causing her to give up bathing in public. There were other minor disfigurements. She spent 45 days in
hospital, suffered a great deal of very severe pain and much inconvenience and distress, including a
measure of shock, for which the trial Judge held that she was entitled to ‘a fairly large sum as
compensation’, i.e. R1,000 for shock, pain and suffering, past and future.
As regards a serious disability in her left shoulder, a loss of 20 per cent of the full movement of that
shoulder, she would have to do special exercises for it for the rest of her life, to prevent further
deterioration and minimise future pain. There was a possibility of osteo-arthritis setting in and the
general condition of the shoulder was likely to deteriorate and not improve. This disability would make
her normal household activities, including at present bathing and changing the children, difficult for
her for the rest of her life. At present she no longer enjoyed dancing or social intercourse and found
her disability distracting and irritating, though she would learn to live with it. For the disability and
consequent loss of amenities of life and for disfigurement she was awarded R2,000. This made a total
of R3,000 (£1,500).

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