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Work fall victim lucky to survive accident that killed colleague
A Portsmouth man who was extremely lucky to survive an accident in which his colleague was killed has received £150,000 in an out of court settlement.
Both men fell more than 10 metres onto a concrete floor in the accident - which left the machine operator deeply traumatised and his colleague fatally injured. Their employer had asked the man to help his colleague rig some electrical cabling through the roof of a warehouse, despite him not having any relevant training or experience.
“My client and his colleague were told to stand in the bucket of an excavator while it was lifted more than 10 metres up into the air,” said Izabella Klimek, a specialist work accident lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP. “Notwithstanding the fact that he had absolutely no experience of rigging electrical cabling, his employer then didn’t even bother to provide him with any safety equipment.
“Unfortunately, the excavator’s bucket had been fixed incorrectly and back to front,” she said. “When it suddenly tilted downwards, both my client and his colleague fell out onto the concrete floor below. My client landed hard and immediately knew that he had seriously injured his left arm and leg. Tragically, his colleague, who was airlifted to hospital, did not survive his injuries.”
The injured man, who is in his 20s, was taken by ambulance with a shattered left ankle and elbow. Following surgery to have supportive metalwork inserted into both, he remained in hospital for two weeks before he was discharged on crutches into the care of a friend.
“Over the next four months, my client was largely bed-bound as he was unable to bear any weight on his injured leg,” said Izabella. “Owing to the layout of the two-storey house he lived in and shared with his friend, he was barely able to move around his own home and had to rely almost entirely on his friend for help with all his day-to-day needs.
“My client was left deeply saddened and traumatized by the death of his colleague and for a number of weeks he suffered frequent nightmares and flashbacks,” she added. “Having previously led a very active life filled with hobbies such as cycling, running and ice skating, he became increasingly despondent with his lack of mobility and financial situation and had to be prescribed with antidepressants.”
Izabella said that although her client received extensive physiotherapy, he has been left unable to fully straighten his arm. “Both his left elbow and ankle are significantly weaker then they were before the accident and he can no longer run or carry anything heavy,” she said. “He now has very limited movement around his ankle which remains extremely stiff each morning when he wakes up and often continues to ache throughout the day - particularly in cold weather.
“It was an absolute disgrace that my client was asked to do a job he had no experience or training for,” she added. “As a result of his accident, he will never be able to return to the kind of work he once enjoyed as he can no longer stay on his feet for any length of time. He has been left unable to take part in any of his favourite sports and he now struggles just to walk downhill or over uneven ground.”
After liability was admitted by the man’s former employer, South Coast Skips - a firm which has received a number of Prohibition and Improvement Notices from the Health & Safety Executive - Izabella settled the case on behalf of her client for £150,000 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.
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