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Injured man who lost use of arm receives £450,000 damages
A security worker who lost the use of his arm after falling at work has received £450,000 in an out of court settlement.
The injured man was forced to retire after the incident, but incredibly it took five years for his employer’s insurers to compensate him for his injuries.
Stephen Hill, a serious injuries expert with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that what had appeared to be a relatively innocuous injury at first soon proved devastating for his client.
“He was injured shortly after arriving at work one morning,” said Stephen, a partner with the firm. “After parking his car, he had to make his way through a narrow, fenced walkway, which for several months had experienced a problem with drainage. There was a large puddle between the two fences, a few inches deep and about seven feet long, and many of his colleagues had complained about the standing water.
“As people were getting their feet wet when they came into the building, somebody in the company put a few wooden pallets into the water for people to walk over,” said Stephen. “On this occasion, a very cold morning, the pallets had become icy and as my client stepped on one to cross the standing water he slipped and fell, landing heavily and awkwardly.”
Stephen said his client’s head and left shoulder hit the fence, and his head was pushed away from his shoulder. “Whilst one hand landed on the pallet, his left hand went between two wooden slats before finding purchase and then buckling under his weight and twisting.”
The married father-of-two was shaken after the fall but was able to take himself into the crew room, where he cleaned the gash on his head and the mud from his arm and shoulder.
“He had pain in the arm and shoulder so reported the accident as was company policy,” said Stephen. “He was advised to see a doctor, as it was suspected that he had dislocated his shoulder.”
When the injured man saw his doctor the next day, he was immediately sent for x-rays at his local hospital, where it was confirmed he had dislocated the shoulder, but by which time it had already re-engaged.
“His shoulder remained painful for months afterwards, and despite returning to work and trying to persevere, he began to lose feeling in his hand and lost range of movement in his arm,” said Stephen. “He started to disassociate himself with his arm and felt that it was no longer a part of him. He was forced to retire on grounds of ill health.”
After several months had passed, he could barely move his arm at all and it was extremely painful. “He could not bear to use the shower, as the sensation of the water on his arm was too painful,” said Stephen. “By the following year, he had lost all use of his arm, but remained in excruciating pain.
“He cannot bear for anything to touch his arm. It is very difficult for him to get dressed without help from his wife, and the sound and vibrations caused by vehicles passing his house causes him discomfort,” he said. “He tends to wear earplugs in the house during the day, especially when the dustbin men are coming.”
After undergoing delicate nerve transposition surgery just over two years after the incident, he was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The following year, he had a Spinal Cord Stimulator fitted in his back - which provides an electric pulse up the spine into his left arm which is supposed to mask the pain.
“My client has been through a terrible ordeal, made all the worse by the fact that for five years his employers refused to acknowledge responsibility for his injury,” said Stephen. “They refused to accept that the puddle and pallet across the entrance to their premises had directly led to this injury, yet tellingly within a few weeks of this incident the pallets were removed and a drainage channel was installed in the walkway kerb so that the water would drain away properly.
“My client lost his job, his independence and his mobility,” said Stephen. “He was a fit and active man before this incident, but he has had to give up his hobbies of swimming and scuba diving, and can no longer do any DIY or gardening.”
Following lengthy negotiations, Stephen settled the claim in the gross amount of £450,000.
“Whilst no amount of money can bring back the use of his arm, I hope the settlement enables my client and his family to look to the future without concerns over how they will meet the costs of care and assistance as they move on with their lives,” he said.
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