Compensation victory after crushed foot ends career

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Compensation victory after crushed foot ends career

8th February 2011

A former telecoms engineer whose foot was crushed in an accident at work over eight years ago has been awarded £215,000 in an out of court settlement.

Katie Pendower, a catastrophic injuries specialist at Fentons Solicitors, said the man had endured years of significant pain as well as repeated surgical procedures after a 50kg roll of steel cable fell onto his foot.

"Despite not having been given any proper training, my client was carrying out a Health and Safety audit on a colleague's company vehicle, ensuring that ladders carried in the vans were fit for purpose," said Katie, a partner with the firm.

"His colleague was taking a ladder out of the vehicle when he dislodged a roll of steel cable, weighing approximately 50 kilograms. The rim of the reel initially landed on my client's right toes, which were protected by the steel caps of his boots," she said. "But it bounced and fell again, landing on the unprotected bridge and upper part of his foot."

Despite the company vans having to carry several reels of cable at any one time, they were only equipped with a holding rail able to carry two reels at a time.

"This typically meant that there were seven reels of cable left lying dangerously unsecured on the van floors," said Katie. "According to a former employee of the same company, equipment would frequently fall out of vans when either the side or back doors were opened.

"My client suffered crush injuries including a severe fracture to his right foot. His injuries were further complicated by the fact that he has been an insulin-dependant diabetic since the age of 11."

Four months after his accident, the claimant's fracture had failed to heal. He was issued with insoles to support his feet but they caused him to develop ulcers after rubbing against his right foot.

"Those living with diabetes and the problems with neuropathy associated with the condition have to be extremely careful in regard to looking after their feet," said Katie, "with foot ulcers a particular problem.

"Significantly, the claimant developed ulceration on his left foot the following year as a result of his altered gait and in the years since he has suffered with constant ulceration to both his feet."

The claimant was persuaded to abandon his career due to the resulting pain and immobility. He has required repeated medical attention for complications arising as a result of his injuries, he has had to endure considerable pain and he has seen his mobility decrease significantly.

"This case proved extremely problematic as the issue of causation was complicated enormously by my client's Type 1 diabetes," said Katie. "In regard to his ongoing physical and psychological condition, we had to distinguish between the effects of the accident and how the natural progression of his diabetes would have ordinarily affected him.

"Prior to the accident, my client led a very active life playing badminton and walking each of his five dogs daily. He didn't have any problems with his feet and he had never experienced any ulcers. He will require a significant amount of future care and will need a range of specialist aids and equipment to improve his mobility and standard of living. Although he continues to suffer pain, ulcerations and immobility it is now hoped his settlement will help in affording him a better quality of life."

Liability was apportioned 95% in the claimant's favour subject to a 5% deduction in respect of contributory negligence.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has specialist departments experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace as well as claims involving catastrophic injuries such as amputation.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.