United Kingdom

Tech boss sues Elegant Resorts Ltd for almost £1million after banging his head on a DOORFRAME

A former tech boss has brought a near £1million legal claim against the luxury travel agent he used to work for as he claims he lost his career banging his head on a doorframe at their office.

IT boss Stephen Long was earning £50,000-a-year at Elegant Resorts Ltd, which takes bookings for Virgin Galactic's space flight programme.

But in 2015 he suffered a 'considerable blow to the forehead,' when he banged it against a doorframe in the basement of the travel agent's Chester offices.

Mr Long, from Norwich, claims the injury stopped him from working with computers, and he now makes £8,000 a year as a gardener at a stately home. 

He claims the room was poorly lit and is suing his former bosses in the High Court for £920,000. 

But lawyers for Elegant Resorts say the collision caused only a 'modest bump to the head' and claim all his problems are down to psychological symptoms brought on when he was told he might face 'the chop' at work.

Stephen Long is suing his former employer for £920,000, claiming he was unable to work with computers after suffering a 'considerable blow to the forehead,' when he banged it against a doorframe in 2015

Mr Long's barrister Marcus Grant told the court he was left with amnesia and concussion after accidentally running into the top of the doorframe while hurrying to help a workmate who was lifting a heavy office cabinet in May 2015.

The 46-year-old suffered a 'considerable blow to his forehead - sufficient to cause a concussive head injury,' Judge Richard Pearce was told.

Although he tried to carry on with his day as normal after the accident, and may even have gone to the gym, by that night he was experiencing 'visual disturbance' and had 'an all over body tingle which was a completely alien experience', he said.

Since his knock Mr Long, from Norwich, says he has battled with poor balance, anxiety, fatigue, acute depression and reduced memory, and can no longer hold down a job in the demanding world of IT.

The alleged injury, said to have been suffered at Elegant Resorts' Chester office, cost Mr Long his career - which could have seen him earn salaries of up to £150,000, his lawyers have claimed

While before the accident he was earning around £50,000 per year, he has since struggled to find a role and has only recently landed an £8,000-a-year job as a gardener at Felbrigg Hall - a National Trust stately home in Norfolk.

Without his head injury, he could have continued to climb in his chosen field, landing salaries of up to £150,000, says Mr Long.

Psychiatric experts who examined him agree he has developed a 'severe depressive disorder that has been ongoing since May 2015 - two months after the accident'.

But lawyers for Elegant Resorts say Mr Long was plagued by medical worries way before his February 2015 bump on the head, and that he had a pre-existing somatic condition which was 'on the rise' around the time of the accident.

Somatic Symptom Disorder is a condition in which victims suffer chronic pain and symptoms often without any clear medical origin.

'It is our case that Mr Long's pre-accident and post-accident condition is essentially one and the same and that he suffered from life-long Somatic Symptom Disorder, the normal pattern of which was to wax and wane, exacerbated by stress,' explained Elegant Resorts' QC, Marcus Dignum.

He had a 'long history of unexplained pre-accident symptoms', Mr Dignam told the court, including complaints such as stomach and joint pain, altered sensation, sleep problems and memory issues.

And the spark for the major depression which kicked in after the accident was probably the bombshell news he had received that his job was for the 'chop', the QC argued.

Elegant Resorts have admitted 'primary liability' for the accident but say Mr Long also bears some blame for failing to switch on the lights or avoid an 'obviously low beam'

Mr Long's barrister agreed he had some 'vulnerability' before the accident but claimed that until then he 'managed to cope with his residual pain and symptoms' and had not taken time off work.

'In the years leading up to the accident there was no evidence of excessive worries about his health,' he added.

Elegant Resorts have admitted 'primary liability' for the accident but say Mr Long also bears some blame for failing to switch on the lights or avoid an 'obviously low beam'.

The main issue for the judge now to decide is whether the collision with the door triggered Mr Long's breakdown and the loss of his career.

The trial continues.

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