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Worker receives £70,000 after losing his toe in crush incident
A Devon man who suffered 27 individual fractures to his toes when his right foot was crushed in an horrific accident at work has received £70,000 in an out of court settlement
Michael Hagan, a serious injuries specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the father-of-two, who had to undergo a toe amputation as a result of his injuries, also suffered Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome as well as significant psychological trauma following the incident which occurred more than four years ago.
“My client, who is in his 50s, was part of a team helping to dismantle equipment at a former industrial plant when a machine weighing more than two tonnes, which hadn’t been properly secured, collapsed onto his right foot,” said Michael, a solicitor with the firm. “My client said the severe ‘exploding’ pain he remembers suffering as the machine landed on his steel toe-capped safety boot was so excruciating that all he wanted to do at the time was pass out.
“Despite the frantic yet unsuccessful attempts of his colleagues to lever the machine off his foot, my client was trapped for an agonising 10 minutes, by which point, he was simply begging for help,” added Michael. “When a crane was finally used to lift the machine off his foot, the agony he was in increased threefold and he became terrified of how his toes would look when his boot was removed. When he eventually saw his foot, one toe had burst while three others had turned completely blue.”
After the claimant was given gas and morphine to numb his pain, he was taken by ambulance to hospital having suffered 27 individual fractures to the toes on his right foot. Both the paramedics as well as the orthopaedic registrar on duty at the hospital were shocked by the severity of his injury and his doctors were extremely concerned by the condition of his foot, fearing that it could even become a life-threatening injury.
Five days later, following an operation to set the broken bones in his big toe, after which he was given morphine every four hours and his foot was immersed in ice, he was discharged into the care of his wife and children. Three weeks after the incident, during which time he had to keep his foot elevated and bandaged, he was told his third toe was unsalvageable and would unfortunately need to be amputated.
“Despite the psychological blow of having to undergo such a procedure, my client believed it would at least remove his pain,” said Michael. “Sadly he was wrong and following a short respite, his pain returned as sharp as ever and he underwent another operation to close the wound and prevent the spread of gangrene which had been creeping up his right foot and had become extremely concerning to his doctors.
“Although he returned to work on light duties four months after his injury, he was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and he remained severely traumatised by what had happened to him,” added Michael. “Normally a kind, measured and calm individual, he developed very severe depression as well as a host of post-traumatic stress symptoms which made him increasingly anxious, irritable and aggressive and had a devastating impact upon his family and home life.”
For the next 18 months, the claimant’s mental state remained extremely fragile and he would continue to relive the incident day in day out, imagining over and over how his injuries could have been avoided. After a significant amount of counselling and psychotherapy, the claimant returned to work on full duties although he continues to steer clear of the kind of high risk work he was accustomed to performing previously.
“My client continues to require painkilling medication every week and he still suffers considerable discomfort particularly now in the winter months when his foot is especially susceptible to the cold,” said Michael. “He is now unable to run for any distance and he struggles to climb ladders or walk on uneven ground. In addition, he needs support whilst descending stairs and he suffers pain in his foot if he drives for more than an hour at a time.”
After liability was admitted, Michael settled the claim on behalf of his client for £70,000 in October 2012.
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