A Wigan man who fell 40ft through a roof while working as a roofer has received a six-figure settlement, after suffering extensive injuries and needing many operations.
Lee Byrne, from Ince, had the accident while working for K Pendlebury and Sons Limited from Wigan. He was working on a project to replace the roof of the sports hall at Loreto High School in Chorlton when the fall happened in November 2011, leaving him with a shattered elbow and arm, fractured pelvis, dislocated fingers and an injury to his knee. He was very lucky to avoid death, a serious head injury or spinal damage.
Now, three years on, a civil legal case against the employer has finally been settled.
The accident happened when Mr Byrne was asked to take lunch orders for the rest of his colleagues. As he walked around the roof he stepped onto an area where old steel beams under that part of the roof had been removed, this meant the corrugated tin panels on part of the structure were left unsupported. He fell 40ft, hitting scaffolding on his way.
Lee spent two weeks in hospital following the fall, and has since had many operations including an elbow replacement. He has severe lack of function in his right elbow with severe restriction in wrist and shoulder movements and his family assist him with domestic duties. He has been unable to return to work as a roofer since the accident.
The employer was prosecuted in a separate case by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2013. K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 after it failed to ensure workers were prevented from standing on fragile parts of the roof. The company was fined £10,000.
Following the accident, Mr Byrne contacted Brendan Treanor, a personal injury partner at Stephensons Solicitors LLP to begin a civil claim for damages against his employer.
The claim alleged that the employer’s negligence and breach of statutory duty led to his accident. The claim also alleged that the employer was in breach of many safety at work and health and safety regulations. In particular, the employer had not undertaken any risk assessment before starting work on the site, had not put up any warning notices or fenced off the fragile area of the roof and had failed to carry out any induction at the site prior to commencing work.
A trial was listed for the end of September 2014 however two weeks before the trial, a joint settlement meeting took place where negotiations, offers and counter offers led to the final settlement.
Lee Byrne said: “I’m really relieved that the case has finally settled. It’s been a long road and I can now finally move on. I would like to thank Brendan for his help over the last three years.”
Brendan Treanor said: “Workplace accidents involving falling from a height are the main cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry. Lee is lucky to be alive today but his injuries will have an impact on him for the rest of his life, hampering his job prospects in the roofing industry and causing a great deal of pain and worry for him and his family. We are pleased that the case has finally concluded after lengthy negotiations.”
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