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Delivery driver receives £650,000 after years of surgery and rehabilitation
A skip delivery driver who has endured years of debilitating pain and discomfort after permanently injuring his leg and ankle when he fell from his lorry has received £650,000 in an out of court settlement.
Nick Godwin, a serious injuries specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the Ilford man’s life had been turned completely upside-down as a result of the incident which occurred more than four years ago.
“My client had been instructed to deliver four skips on the day of his accident but when he went to deliver the third skip he discovered it had become jammed in the one below,” said Nick, a partner at the firm. “When he attempted to lift the jammed skip clear he discovered the crane hook he was using was defective and it was after he climbed onto the limited space on the back of his lorry to repair the faulty hook that he lost his footing and fell more than five feet onto the ground below.”
The man, who is in his 40s, suffered immediate excruciating pain and after an ambulance took him to hospital, x-rays revealed he had shattered his left ankle and suffered two fractures to his left leg. After nearly a fortnight, during which time he underwent surgery to have an external fixator frame applied to his leg to allow his broken bones to heal, he was allowed home on crutches and taken into the care of his mother.
“Over the next several months, my client was unable to bear any weight on his injured leg and he was required to keep it elevated for the majority of each day,” said Nick. “This meant he was effectively housebound and entirely reliant on his mother for all his personal care as well as almost every aspect of his day-to-day living, including having to meticulously clean his wounds as well as the metal framework around his leg to prevent infection.”
By the following year, the claimant had undergone further surgery to have supportive metalwork inserted in his leg as well as operations to have the external fixator around his leg replaced and removed. After several months of extensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, he was then advised that the bones in his leg were failing to heal properly and yet another operation was required.
“The surgery my client needed involved bone grafts as well as the removal of metalwork from within his leg and the application of yet another specialist metal frame,” said Nick. “The surgery - which was so complex it could only be carried out by a handful of surgeons - was extremely expensive but we were able to secure an interim payment of £30,000 to cover the cost of the operation.”
Nick said that the external fixators his client has had attached to his leg in recent months have been both cumbersome and painful. “Not only did my client have to endure months of resulting pain and inconvenience but he also had to deal with his wounds continually oozing as well as a range of associated complications such as a hernia, a clubbed foot, septicaemia, deep-vein thrombosis, and more than three-and-a-half years of repeated hospital appointments and checkups.
“Unfortunately, his injuries have now healed as far as they ever will and the symptoms he has been left with are permanent and are likely to get worse,” said Nick. “He has now developed osteoarthritis around his ankle and there is a risk he will need further surgery in the future to fuse his ankle or even to replace the joint entirely. As a consequence of all the surgery he has had to undergo, he has suffered significant muscle wastage and scarring and his left leg has been left nearly four centimetres shorter than the right. Unfortunately this has led to associated back and knee pain, however with a further interim payment of £30,000, he was able to purchase bespoke orthotic footwear which is now helping to resolve his symptoms.
“The ordeal my client has been put through has changed his life beyond all recognition,” added Nick. “Having previously led a very fit and sport-filled life he currently struggles with his mobility and remains devastated that he can no longer enjoy the types of activities he used to love such as running, skiing, snowboarding and scuba-diving. He has suffered considerable financial losses as a result of not being able to work and we now hope the settlement he has received will help as he continues to move on with his life.”
After initially admitting liability in full, the defendants tried to withdraw their admission to allege contributory negligence but their request was rightfully rejected. Nick settled the claim on behalf of his client for £650,000 in September 2012.
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