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A man who fractured every bone in his wrist
A man who fractured every bone in his wrist in a freak accident at work has received more than £940,000 in compensation after being told he will never be able to work again.
The man, from Manchester, was initially in two minds about taking legal advice and bringing a claim against his employer, but after his contract was terminated only a matter of weeks after the accident he felt he had no choice.
“My client, who was in his 40s at the time of the incident, had his career ended by what at first seemed a relatively innocuous fall,” said Polly Herbert, a specialist serious injuries lawyer with Fentons, part of Slater & Gordon. “He was working as a contracts manager, and when he returned to the work premises after a site visit, he found the reception area filled with boxes of building materials which should have been stored in the warehouse.
“The boxes had been delivered by flatbed truck, and as it was raining they were wet. This made the wooden floor incredibly slippery, and when my client picked up one of the boxes to move it to the warehouse, his feet went out from under him.”
Polly said that the man instinctively put his hand out to break his fall, but when he hit the floor he sustained a horrendous injury which caused him to black out for a moment. “He was in excruciating pain, and could see a bone poking through his skin,” she said. “He managed to call a colleague on his mobile phone - who was working in the building – and he came to his aid. Another colleague then drove him to the nearby hospital, where x-rays showed he had broken his wrist in several places. However, the break was so severe that he had to be transferred to another hospital under a specialist, who described the injury as ‘horrendous’.”
Polly said the break was so severe that the doctor told the man he was lucky not to have had his hand amputated. “Sadly my client’s suffering did not end there and over the course of the following five years he had to undergo numerous operations to try and salvage some usefulness of his dominant right wrist and hand,” she said. “The surgeries were extremely invasive and involved skin grafting procedures, but after an infection involving the plates in his wrist my client developed septicaemia and his wife was advised that he may lose his life.
“Thankfully he survived,” said Polly, “however any further surgeries to his wrist have been ruled out and he has been left with an extremely painful limb which clicks and crunches on movement. He needs to wear a large wrist support for the rest of his life which covers his hand and forearm, as without any metal work in his wrist it is completely useless and any light knocks cause excruciating pain.
“Obviously this injury meant that my client was disabled and he has needed a lot of care and support with day to day tasks,” said Polly. “Not only does he now have a physical disability which has ended his career in his chosen field, he also suffers with chronic and complex regional pain syndrome – leaving him in constant pain and discomfort – and from anxiety issues as a direct result of the injury.
“Before the accident my client had worked all his life and had accumulated skills and experience which meant that he could command a substantial salary. But since he was injured, his options have been massively reduced and the financial hardship he and his wife were placed under has been enormous.”
The defendants in the case – the insurers of his employer – initially offered to settle the claim in full for just £70,000, before increasing their offer to £500,000 in 2012.
“Both of these offers – whilst appearing substantial on paper – failed to take into account the long-term hardship my client and his family would be subjected to by his inability to work at the level he had previously done and the care and support he now needs due to his injury,” said Polly. “After securing expert reports to highlight the severity of the injury, we were able to demonstrate the full extent of what he’d been through and negotiate a settlement of just over £940,000.
“My client maintained that he would gladly give up whatever compensation we secured for him to have his right arm - and his old life - back,” said Polly. “Nevertheless this substantial amount of damages will enable him to access support on a private basis that would not be available to him on the NHS, and investigate new avenues of rehabilitation to help rebuild his life.”
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.
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