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Stepladder fall at work caused permanent coccyx injury
A grandmother who has been left with permanent debilitating pain after she fell off a stepladder at work has received £38,000 in an out of court settlement.
Etala Cleaves, a workplace accident expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the Bedfordshire woman, who is in her 60s, was working part-time as a shop assistant when the incident occurred over two years ago.
“My client was stood on top of a stepladder restocking shelves and attempting to handle a box of muffins when she fell backwards and landed painfully onto her lower back,” said Etala, a solicitor with the firm.
“Left shaken and in considerable pain, my client was helped to a chair by her colleague and told to sit and rest until the end of her shift. Determined not to let her two colleagues down, who were short-staffed at the time, she returned to work the following day despite enduring a very difficult and painful night’s sleep,” she said.
Over the following two days, the woman’s pain escalated and after visiting her GP, she was advised to attend her local hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken coccyx.
“My client took six weeks off from work before handing in her notice as she simply couldn’t cope with the crippling pain she was in,” said Etala. “In the weeks immediately after the incident she found it incredibly painful just sitting down and had to rely on her son to help with cooking her meals, cleaning, washing, food shopping and helping her climb upstairs.
“Over the next twelve months, my client’s pain spread to her hips and became so severe that she had to take a combination of powerful prescription painkillers every morning on a daily basis,” added Etala. “If she went outside to the shops or even simply went for a stroll to stretch her legs, she would inevitably spend the following day in significant pain. It has now been more than two years since she suffered her injury yet she still finds it extremely painful sitting down for more than an hour and especially difficult getting out of bed in the mornings.
“My client is deeply saddened that a seemingly innocuous accident - one which she initially thought wasn’t so serious - has led to such debilitating levels of pain and discomfort. Her life has been dramatically altered as a result, she has lost her independence and she finds it particularly upsetting that she can no longer take her two young grandchildren to the cinema as she simply cannot sit without pain for the duration of a film.”
After liability was admitted by the shop’s insurers for Health and Safety breaches including the absence of any form of Risk Assessment, Etala settled the claim on behalf of her client for £38,000 in February 2012.
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