Katie Ward claims her dream of a film industry career was destroyed by the incident, when her left index finger was sliced off while operating the unguarded and unsupervised machine on her second day at the London-based firm. Although the finger was re-attached by surgeons, Ward says she has not been able to use her left hand properly since.
Ward, who lives in Royal Leamington Spa, was previously awarded around £80,000 damages at Coventry County Court in April last year, but her lawyers now argue at London's Appeal Court that it was nowhere near enough for the devastating impact on her future. Her trial will act as a test case in which senior judges are being asked to define what is meant by 'disability'.
Ward graduated with a first-class honours degree in model making from Bournemouth Arts Institute in July 2006 and her ambition was to pursue a career making sets and props for film and theatre. But after the work experience accident she was left with reduced function and pain in her left hand - her lawyers claim the finger is 'more hindrance than help' – and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which has affected her ability to work with machinery.
The injury meant she had to take an administrative job at a college instead of pursuing her chosen career path.