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Worker whose foot was crushed by steel beam in compensation victory
A labourer whose big toe had to be amputated after a steel beam was dropped onto his foot at work has received £181,000 in an out of court settlement.
“My client’s colleague had been tasked with lifting a steel beam onto a van using a forklift truck,” said Vijay, a partner at the firm. “As his colleague lifted the beam, my client was standing alongside helping to stabilise the long piece of steel. But when the forklift truck reversed off a ramp, the beam fell off the forks and landed heavily onto his right foot.
“Although he was wearing steel toe-capped safety boots, his foot was crushed when it took the full weight of the beam,” said Vijay. “He was taken to hospital, where scans revealed that he had suffered multiple fractures to four of his toes. After a night in hospital, where he was given morphine and an ice pack was applied to his foot, he was sent home on crutches and asked to attend a fracture clinic a few days later.”
But Vijay said when the man - who is in his 30s - attended the clinic, his toe had turned purple and he had lost feeling and sensation. “He was readmitted and kept on antibiotics, but it quickly became clear that the toe was becoming gangrenous and would need to be amputated. Following his surgery, he underwent a number of skin graft operations to reconstruct the tissue around his amputated toe with skin taken from his arm and wrist.
“My client was in hospital for several weeks and following his return home, where he was looked after by his girlfriend, he had severe difficulties with his daily activities and mobility,” said Vijay. “Over the next few months, the skin graft caused him considerable discomfort and loss of feeling around his wrist and hand and he was unable to carry anything heavy or bear any weight on his injured foot without pain. Due to his injuries, his toes became clawed and after they began rubbing painfully against each other, he had to undergo a further operation to have them straightened.”
Having undergone multiple operations as a result of his injuries, the claimant has been left with extensive scarring to his foot, wrist and forearm, an amputated big toe, rigid and painful second and third toes and a rotated fourth toe. Further surgery has now been ruled out as the risk of complications, which would restrict the functioning of his foot even more, are too high and he now has to wear specialist customised footwear instead.
“My client has been unable to work since the incident and it is extremely unlikely he will be able to resume working as a labourer in the future,” said Vijay. “Although he did attempt to return to the kind of work he enjoyed previously, he found that he was simply too unsteady on his feet to safely carry heavy loads across uneven ground.
“He is unable to stand for prolonged periods of time, he continues to have problems with his balance and he cannot run without being in pain. Although he can manage to walk, he suffers progressively worsening pain that means he cannot walk for more then an hour without having to take a break.”
After liability was admitted in full, Vijay settled the claim on behalf of his client for £181,000 including £25,000 in interim payments, in November 2012.
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