A 30 year old plant operator was lucky to survive when he fell onto machinery at his place of work. He now faces the possibility of being dependent on a wheelchair later in life because of his injuries.
Simon Lowe fell onto spikes and suffered internal bleeding, deep puncture wounds, a fractured spine, broken pelvis and lacerated tendons in his thumb in the accident at Dupre Minerals Ltd. He had been trying to load two bags of insulation material onto a feed hopper, but the machine jammed and when he climbed onto a grill to try and clear it, he fell and impaled himself on the spikes used to rip the bags open.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation uncovered that the employer hadn’t given workers sufficient training on how to load the hopper, or on how to deal with blockages in the machinery.
Mr Lowe will no doubt pursue his employer for compensation. They were found guilty on two counts of breaching health and safety laws and fined, so their negligence has been proved. Whether they settle out of court, as many employers do so as to avoid court costs and bad publicity, remains to be seen. But Mr Lowe’s claim will not just cover his current condition, loss of earnings and pain and suffering; his spinal injury may cause him problems in the future and he could well need assistance or care. So the payout will either take this into consideration, or Mr Lowe may seek an order allowing him to return to court in the future should his condition worsen. This is common in spinal injury cases.
£1.25 million for builder who fell from scaffolding
47 year old Dean Winstone, a self-employed builder, suffered severe spinal injuries when he tripped and feel from scaffolding. The accident left him paraplegic and dependent on a wheelchair, and it has been said he will never work again.
He has recently been awarded £1.25 million in compensation for his pain and suffering, loss of income and future care costs. His care needs will increase as he gets older. The compensation was awarded by the scaffolding company, Gemini Riteway Scaffolding Company, which did not admit liability but agreed the lump sum settlement.
Spinal injuries usually have life changing consequences. Injuries often worsen over time, and care and medical treatment needs increase as a result. Sometimes medical experts, in giving a long term prognosis, will predict future issues that may need to be considered within any compensation claim, such was the case with Simon Lowe who could face dependency on a wheelchair later in life.
It is important, when pursuing a work accident compensation claim, to engage specialist solicitors with specific expertise in the type of injuries sustained so that the maximum award can be achieved.
At Stephensons, we have a team of specialist accident claims lawyers who are dedicated to handling spinal injury claims and have a proven track record in achieving high level awards. Call us on 01616 966 229 to speak directly to one of our experts.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney