Damages for factory worker who lost thumb in accident at work

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Damages for factory worker who lost thumb in accident at work

9th May 2012

A Northamptonshire man whose thumb had to be amputated after it was crushed and nearly severed in an accident at work has received £85,000 in an out of court settlement.

Vijay Mehan, a serious injury specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said his client was a trainee machine operator at a factory in Wellingborough when the incident occurred nearly two years ago.

“My client was operating a machine which produced adhesive tape,” said Vijay, a partner at the firm. “When he attempted to use his thumbnail - as he had been instructed - to unravel some tape that had become trapped in the heated metal rollers of the machine, his left thumb and index finger were taken into the unguarded gap between the rollers and crushed.

“Both his thumb and index finger were trapped between the rollers for over a minute before his frantic colleagues were able to release him,” added Vijay. “The pain was so horrific, my client was screaming in agony and believed he was just moments from passing out.”

The young man was taken by air ambulance to hospital in Derby having suffered a severe crushing and ‘de-gloving’ injury to his left thumb. “A de-gloving injury is when layers of skin are essentially stripped from their underlying tissue,” said Vijay. “Fortunately, the injury to my client’s index finger involved a less severe but nonetheless serious laceration, which doctors were able to clean and treat as soon as he arrived in hospital.

“The much more serious wound to his thumb - which had been crushed and almost completely severed around the first knuckle - required extensive treatment over five days,” added Vijay. “When the damage was deemed too extensive, he underwent two separate operations in which doctors partially amputated his thumb and took a skin graft from his upper arm.”

Unsurprisingly, the claimant suffered considerable pain both in the period immediately after the accident and in the weeks following his subsequent surgery. When he was discharged from hospital, he was looked after by his family and continued to take powerful morphine-based nerve-blocking medication for several months.

“The pain in my client’s thumb was often so severe that it regularly disrupted his sleep and it was nearly eight months before he was able to return to work,” said Vijay. “The stump of his thumb remains very tender, his left hand feels hypersensitive and he finds it extremely hard tying his shoelaces, doing the washing up and buttoning his clothes.

“My client really enjoyed cycling and boxing prior to his accident but his injury has sadly prevented him from resuming both,” added Vijay. “In addition, he cannot drive or carry shopping with his left hand and he remains extremely self-conscious about the shortened appearance of his thumb and the muscle wastage he has incurred around his left forearm.”

Vijay concluded by stating: “If the machine my client had been operating had been fitted with an adequate guard, this accident would simply never have happened.”

After liability was admitted, Vijay settled the case on behalf of his client for £85,000 in March 2012.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of serious injury and has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

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