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Self-employed builder receives damages after ladder fall injury
A self-employed builder who suffered permanent damage to his right ankle when he fell several feet from a ladder has received £55,000 in an out of court settlement.
Edmund Young, a workplace accident specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the Middlesex man, who is in his 60s, was being contracted to help renovate a property when the incident occurred more than two years ago.
“My client was working from a step-ladder removing some rotten ceiling joists when the temporary plywood decking beneath him suddenly collapsed, causing him to fall 16 feet onto a concrete floor,” said Edmund, an associate with the firm.
”Despite landing heavily on his right foot, he was able to stand shortly after the fall and believed he had simply suffered a sprain,” added Edmund. “However, over the next few hours, his ankle became increasingly swollen and painful and when he was subsequently taken to hospital by his brother, an x-ray revealed his ankle was in fact broken.”
For the next two weeks the builder, who lives alone, remained in plaster before his cast was removed and he was provided with crutches. Over the following months - during which time he continued to suffer pain and swelling around his ankle and was unable to walk or bear any weight on his injured leg - he received care and assistance from a family-member who would come and visit him at home.
“When my client returned to work after just six months due to financial reasons, he was able to manage most aspects of his job with the aid of an ankle support which he wore inside his boot,” said Edmund. “However, his ankle remained constantly painful - particularly when climbing ladders and towards the end of each day - and after only four months, he was again forced to stop working.”
Despite a second break from work, during which time he underwent extensive physiotherapy, the claimant’s symptoms continued and after undergoing a specialist arthroscopy operation - which revealed significant soft tissue trauma as well as bruising and degenerative changes to the bones in his ankle - he was advised that he was unlikely to ever return to his former occupation and will no longer be able to undertake any kind of work involving ladders, uneven ground or heavy manual labour.
“The firm my client was contracting for on the day of his accident were the main contractors on site and were responsible for the health and safety of their workers,” said Edmund. “Despite this, the temporary plywood decking he fell through was rotten and unfit for purpose. Furthermore, on the morning of the incident, my client was working alone and unsupported and hadn’t been provided with a sling to support his weight in the event of a fall.
“My client has not been able to return to work and as a result of his injury, the damage to his ankle is permanent and will not improve,” he added. “He continues to suffer pain and stiffness, he cannot use steps or ladders without significant pain and after being on his feet for only an hour, he suffers severe joint aches. Consequently, he is now prevented from working within the building industry, he will never again be able to undertake the kind of specialist plastering, brickwork and roofing jobs he has been trained for and owing to his age, he is at a significant disadvantage on the labour market.”
After liability was admitted on a 75/25 per cent basis in favour of the client, Edmund settled the claim in October 2012.
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