Graduate is suing university for £4m after 'slipping in a puddle'

A graduate is suing his former university for £4million after slipping in a puddle while on a students’ union night out.

Thomas Hazell, 28, says he could lose his leg after smashing it after falling onto a wet disabled-access ramp at the University of at 2am in February 2017.

Mr Hazell was in the final year of his modern languages degree when the accident occurred.

Thomas Hazell, 28, says he could lose his leg after smashing it after falling onto a wet disabled-access ramp at the University of Birmingham at 2am in February 2017

Thomas Hazell, 28, says he could lose his leg after smashing it after falling onto a wet disabled-access ramp at the University of Birmingham at 2am in February 2017

Lawyers for the University of Birmingham Students Union have admitted liability for his fall but dispute the sum that Mr Hazell is claiming

Lawyers for the University of Birmingham Students Union have admitted liability for his fall but dispute the sum that Mr Hazell is claiming

Mr Hazell, now a grammar school languages teacher, says the injury exacerbated problems he had with his leg after he fought a rare bone cancer in his youth.

Lawyers for the University of Birmingham Students Union have admitted liability for his fall, which Mr Hazell’s lawyers say was caused by union staff permitting the floor to become dangerously slippery, and for failing to warn users about the wet surface.

But the union is set to fight in court against the massive sum the ex-student is claiming.

In documents lodged with London’s High Court, Mr Hazell’s lawyers set out how he suffered from a rare bone cancer as a teenager.

He battled and beat the disease, going on to achieve the top A-level grades at his school despite missing a year, and having to deal with exams whilst undergoing chemotherapy.

However he had to have part of his right thigh and shin bones replaced with titanium alloy prosthetics to save his leg.

The students’ union slip caused a fracture which massively complicated the pre-existing issues, his lawyers claim, leaving him for the second time in his young life at risk of losing his leg.

In documents lodged with London's High Court, Mr Hazell's lawyers set out how he suffered from a rare bone cancer as a teenager

In documents lodged with London’s High Court, Mr Hazell’s lawyers set out how he suffered from a rare bone cancer as a teenager

‘The break to his leg was just above the prosthetic which subsequently had to be replaced and extended,’ his lawyers say, adding that he was in traction for over a month after the fall and had to go through gruelling surgery to fit a new artificial implant – plus further surgery when infection set in.

‘The condition of his prosthesis and infection has recently deteriorated and Mr Hazell is due to have further surgery to remove the infected material,’ his lawyers explain in court documents.

‘It is unclear at this stage what further action will be required,’ they added, highlighting the ‘risk’ of a right leg amputation.

The accident derailed his studies and he had to restart the final year of his BA languages degree course, which delayed his progression into his chosen career as a teacher.

Mr Hazell, who was an ambassador for teenage cancer charities and raised £25,000 at school by being sponsored to shave his head, was also plagued by depression due to the students’ union injuries, his lawyers say.

The case has not reached trial yet and lawyers are still gathering medical evidence about the long-term effects of the leg break.

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