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Settlement win after worker's foot was crushed by forklift truck
A Bedfordshire man who suffered permanent injuries to his right foot when it was crushed under the wheels of a forklift truck has received £191,000 in an out of court settlement.
Joanna Bailey, a workplace accident specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the former steel fabricator’s injuries prevented him from working for several months and he was eventually made redundant from his job.
“My client, who is in his 20s, was helping his colleague load a piece of heavy lifting equipment onto a forklift truck,” said Joanna, a partner with the firm. “When the equipment started swaying, my client – who was walking alongside the truck as his colleague drove – attempted to steady it with his hand. As he did so however, the truck suddenly picked up speed and ran over his right foot.
“Despite wearing steel-capped work boots at the time, my client suffered severe crush injuries to his foot and immediately fell to the floor screaming,” added Joanna. “He was taken by ambulance to hospital and underwent emergency surgery after scans revealed he had shattered his anklebone, dislocated several joints and broken all five of his metatarsal bones.”
After spending 12 days in hospital, during which time he underwent three separate operations on his foot and ankle, the claimant was discharged on crutches with his foot in a cast. Over the next seven weeks he was looked after by his friends and family and advised not to bear any weight on his injured foot and to keep it elevated as much as possible.
Following the removal of his cast, the claimant underwent extensive physiotherapy and had to continue using crutches as well as a removable ’air-boot’ for the next several weeks. When he was finally able to walk without crutches, his foot and ankle remained extremely painful and swollen and he could only walk with the aid of specialist foot supports.
“A year on from his accident, my client was still suffering constant discomfort and swelling in his injured foot and was told his symptoms were unlikely to improve and he would need further corrective surgery in the future,” said Joanna. “Due to the injury to his ankle, my client’s foot is now permanently deformed and as such, he is restricted to what kind of shoes he can buy, he can no longer run, squat, tip-toe or stand for any length of time, and he will have to wear customised footwear for the rest of his life.”
Joanna said her client’s injuries had been entirely preventable as neither he nor his colleague had been properly trained on how to safely operate the forklift truck they were using. “As a result of his employers’ negligence,” said Joanna, “my client lost his job and was left with permanent injuries which have not only limited his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities but also restricted the type and amount of work he is now able to perform. As he can no longer work off ladders, drive without pain or undertake the kind of heavy manual labour he was used to and enjoyed previously, his career options now remain slim.”
After lengthy negotiations, Joanna settled the claim on behalf of her client for £191,000 in December 2012.
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