Surveyor forced to change jobs after prolapsed disc work injury

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Surveyor forced to change jobs after prolapsed disc work injury

22nd August 2013

A West Sussex man who suffered a prolapsed disc when he tripped on a length of scaffolding in an accident at work has received £35,000 in an out of court settlement.

The quantity surveyor suffered a severe jarring injury to his lower back which became so excruciating in the months following the incident that he was forced to change jobs as he simply wasn’t able to withstand the pain of his daily two-hour commute to work.

“My client had just come out of a construction site building when he tripped over the end of a scaffolding pole,” said Etala Anderson, a specialist serious injuries lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP (right). “The scaffolding pole had been left at the top of a staircase and when my client tripped on the first step he fell down the stairs and landed heavily on his lower back.

“Although in absolute agony he had an important meeting to attend and because at the time he didn’t think his injuries were so serious, he chose not to seek help,” she added. “Throughout the meeting the pain in his back became more and more severe and after driving home immediately afterwards, he had to ask his brother to help him out of his car.”

After two days of agonising back pain spent bedbound and unable to move, the claimant, who is in his 50s, booked an emergency appointment with his doctor. After he was referred for a number of scans he was diagnosed with a prolapsed disc and extensive ligament damage within his lower back. For the next three weeks he was looked after at home by his family unable to sleep through his pain and unable even to move without getting shooting pains around his hips and down both of his legs.

“After three weeks my client’s employer told him he was no longer eligible for sick pay,” said Etala. “As a result, because he was already under enormous pressure at work and because he simply couldn’t afford to take any more time off, he chose, against his better judgement, to return to work early even though he was far from physically ready to do so.

“When he started working again he quickly discovered that he wasn’t able to drive the two hours to work each day as his pain whilst sitting was just too unbearable,” she added. “By this point, he was still taking powerful prescription-only painkillers and when it became apparent that his job - which typically involved a lot of time walking around construction sites and climbing both ladders and scaffolding - was too much for him to handle, he handed in his resignation.”

By the time the claimant resigned, he was unable even to sit on a stool without it feeling, in his own words, ‘like he was being repeatedly stabbed in the buttocks.’ When he was fortunate to find a similar job closer to home he had to take a huge pay cut for the privilege. But although he still had to get up from his desk and lean against a wall to ease the pain in his back every 30 minutes, he was able to delegate more and assign the more physically demanding work to an assistant.

“Since the accident, my client’s pain has forced him to improvise in terms of how he carries out his job and as he is now unable to climb ladders he spends far less time ‘on site’ then he ever used to,” said Etala. “He has now undergone extensive physiotherapy and ultrasound treatment on his back and although his symptoms have improved, he continues to suffer intermittent back pain and he has to take great care when bending down or lifting anything heavy.”

After liability was admitted, Etala settled the claim on behalf of her client for £35,000 in June 2013.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons Solicitors 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.