Substantial settlement for welder blinded in accident at work

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Substantial settlement for welder blinded in accident at work

20th April 2012

A welder who was left blind in one eye following an accident at work has received £475,000 in an out of court settlement.

Mark Luxton, a serious injuries expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the man, who is in his 30s, was working in a ship repair yard when the accident occurred more than three years ago.

“My client was carrying out repairs in the marina where he worked,” said Mark, an associate with the firm. “As he hammered a large stainless steel pin out of the metal he was working on, the pin sheared and a metal splinter shot into his right eye.”

Mark said there had been no safety goggles provided to staff for some time prior to the accident. “Goggles had been requested by employees and were on order at the time,” he said. “To offer some protection to his face, my client was wearing a welding mask which he had lowered just before hitting the pin. However, as the pin sheared, the splinter went between his chin and the edge of the mask and ricocheted into his right eye.”

The father-of-three was taken by ambulance to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the splinter from his eye. But after the operation, in which the lens of his eye was removed, his doctors informed him that it was extremely unlikely he would recover any vision in the damaged eye.

When the man was discharged from hospital his right eye remained stitched closed for the next six months and he was looked after at home by his wife. During this time, he suffered constant glaucoma-related pressure pains in his head which were at their most intense and unbearable in the mornings.

“This often meant he was unable to get out of bed before midday when the pressure in his right eye would tend to drop,” said Mark. “My client wasn’t able to cope with any bright light and the blinds in his house had to remain shut as a result. His undamaged left eye would water and blur throughout the day and he struggled to keep it open as it would constantly smart and want to close.

“My client has three young children and he found it particularly distressing he wasn’t able to join in with the kind of rough-and-tumble child’s play they were used to, especially when they couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to play with them,” added Mark. “In addition, he found it very upsetting that he used to inadvertently bump into his children whilst walking around the house as he simply couldn’t see anything on his right side.”

The man was able to return to work about a year after his accident. He now works reduced hours and is unable to weld for prolonged periods due to the glare affecting his good eye and the dust and heat which causes problems for his damaged eye. He is now looking to retrain as an electrician as his depth perception problems mean spot-welding is no longer practical.

When liability was admitted, Mark settled the case on behalf of his client for £475,000 in March 2012.

“Following the settling of his case, I asked my client whether he still would have gone ahead with bringing a claim against his employer if he had had to contribute up to 25 per cent of any sum he eventually received towards his legal costs,” said Mark. “This is the figure he would have been required to contribute if Lord Jackson’s reforms concerning no win-no fee personal injury claims are implemented. Unsurprisingly, his answer was no.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

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