Horrific crush injuries end injured manís career

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Horrific crush injuries end injured manís career

23rd October 2012

A man who sustained horrific injuries in an accident at work has received more than £400,000 in an out of court settlement.

The victim, who was in his 40s at the time of the incident, had worked for many years in the manufacturing industry and was experienced in operating the various machines involved. On this occasion he had been manufacturing rolls of sheet plastic for food packaging industry, using a machine which fed the plastic through a series of rollers.

Susan Dawson, a specialist in cases involving employers’ liability at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the accident happened as her client was cleaning the machinery. “He had finished his shift, and as was normal he and his colleague would clean the rollers afterwards,” she said.“He would press a button to raise the top roller and lower the bottom rollers, then would put his arms in between the gap of the rollers to clean them. The rollers were always left running whilst they were cleaned.”

Susan said that after cleaning the top roller without any difficulty, he started to clean the middle roller. “What he did not know was that the top roller had ‘dropped’ and there was now hardly any gap between the top and middle rollers,” she said. “As the rollers were waist height it was impossible for him to see this, and when he started to clean the middle roller, both his hands became trapped and the rollers pulled his arms into the machine, crushing them.”

Susan said luckily his colleague was nearby and heard his screams, and was able to press the emergency stop button quickly. “Even so, the machine had pulled him in up to his arms,” said Susan. “His co-workers called an ambulance and he was rushed to the nearby hospital. Although in unbearable pain, he was conscious throughout this extremely traumatic ordeal.”

He underwent emergency surgery that same day and had wires fitted to both wrists, and remained in intensive care for about four days. “He then had a further five operations in the following weeks,” said Susan. “He had plastic surgery using grafts from both legs, and both his arms were put in plaster. He said that when he initially woke up from the first surgery he did not know whether he would still have both his arms.”

The man had suffered crush injuries to both forearms including fractures to the left and right wrists, a fracture to his left hand and a de-gloving injury in which the skin was literally torn away from his arm.

“He was eventually discharged from hospital almost two months after the incident,” said Susan. “He remained in bed for another two months, after which he began the long and slow road to recovery.”

Susan said that unfortunately despite numerous courses of physiotherapy and treatment, the injuries simply did not heal properly. “Two-and-a-half years after the incident, he was forced to undergo further surgery,” she said. “But six months later, x-rays showed that the operation had been unsuccessful, and he needed to have yet another procedure.”

Despite the further surgery, the victim was in continuous pain and his wrists remained swollen and sore. “He still suffers with pain on a daily basis and has a significantly weakened grip and ability to use his arms, wrists and hands,” said Susan. “He suffered from nightmares and flashbacks, and as a result of his ordeal he became reclusive and introverted.

“My client had worked all his life and was a very active man, but now is severely limited in what he can do. He struggles with household chores, he cannot do any gardening or DIY – just holding a screwdriver is difficult, but turning it with any force is impossible,” she said. “He cannot drive, and has been unable to work since.”

Susan secured interim payments totalling more than £28,000 from the employers’ insurer as the case progressed, before negotiating a settlement of £425,000 on behalf of her client.

“It was important that any settlement took into consideration not just the physical and psychological injuries he sustained, but also his and his wife’s past and future loss of earnings and his past and future care and services costs,” she said. “I hope that following this successful resolution to his claim, my client and his wife can now look to their future and his recovery, without the added stresses of financial insecurity.”

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.