Mum sues over daughter's fall from hammock
A MOTHER who claims her daughter's personality changed after falling out of a hammock when it broke has issued a legal claim for more than £300,000 in damages against its manufacturer and the shop which sold it.
Francesca Francis, of Locking Road, Weston-super-Mare, purchased the hammock from Proper Job superstore on September 9, 2007, as a birthday present for her husband.
She has now lodged a writ in the High Court asking for damages on the basis of what happened next.
The couple's daughter, Erin, then five, asked to be lifted into the hammock with her father.
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Mrs Francis lifted her in and about a minute later the hammock's bar snapped, causing Erin to fall onto a concrete surface five-and-a-half feet below.
Erin, now 10, hit the back of her head on the concrete, sustaining a haematoma and an extended fracture at the back of her head.
As a result she vomited and lost consciousness and CT scans revealed bruising to the brain.
Erin developed headaches immediately after her accident and it is claimed her personality changed from being a sweet, placid child to an argumentative, short-tempered girl with a tendency to lash out.
In details of the injury contained in the writ it is claimed Erin also developed memory problems and there have been difficulties with her education and with her peer relationships.
The writ adds that Erin also displays impulsivity, hyperactivity, aggression and mood swings as well as poor concentration and attention which are indicative or frontal lobe dysfunction.
She has also shown evidence of occasional verbal rambling, word-finding difficulties and attention-seeking behaviour – all of which are risk factors for her educational progress and future independence.
Since the accident, Erin has been provided with group therapy and art therapy and expert psychological support has been recommended.
An educational needs report identified that the accident provoked additional difficulties and exacerbated pre-existing issues and there are concerns about her transition to secondary school.
Damages in the region of £300,000 are now being sought on a provisional basis that Erin will not develop epilepsy.
The claim lodged with the High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Division – which alleges the hammock was defective and not safe – is being made by Mrs Francis on behalf of her daughter.
Both Proper Job Superstores Limited, which is based at Bradley Stoke, and the producers of the hammock, Sifcon International Plc, which is based at Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, have accepted liability for the accident subject to medical reports confirming the fall from the hammock caused her health problems.