Successful claim for an amputation injury suffered when working as a self-employed hod carrier

Amputation injury victim - we help find him a new career and get compensation

Daniel’s story

Daniel (in his early 20s) from Minster, Sheppey, Kent made a successful compensation claim for an amputation injury suffered when working as a self-employed hod carrier/brick layer’s mate. He was working on the building site of a national construction firm in Kent, Persimmon Homes (South East) Ltd. One of their forklift truck drivers had a problem with the forks’ hydraulics and asked Daniel to kick out the forks to widen them. He did so, holding the back metal plate for support with his right hand. Kicking the forks evidently jolted the hydraulics back into life. The left fork suddenly closed on Daniel’s right hand. He lost the tips of his little, middle and ring fingers of his right dominant hand. He was rushed to Medway and then East Grinstead hospital where he underwent hand surgery for this amputation injury, but they were unable to save the finger tips.

Hod carrying was the only job Daniel had done since he left school and he was concerned his amputation injury would prevent him returning to it. He also suffered PTSD and came out in a cold sweat whenever passing building sites. He was worried that, even if he later became fit to return to his old job, mentally he would not be able to face this. As the main bread winner for his partner and their young son, Daniel was very anxious about the strain his injuries and loss of livelihood would put on the family finances and their relationship.

Our approach

We argued that the main site contractor was responsible for Daniel’s injuries, as they were answerable for the negligence of their forklift truck driver, who exposed him to foreseeable and unnecessary injury. In particular, he should not have instructed Daniel to carry out an unsafe procedure in kicking the forks when there was a risk that the hydraulics of the forks could be reactivated and move without Daniel’s control. Daniel relied on the expertise of the driver that it would be safe to manually move the forks as requested.

We instructed a plastic & hand surgeon and a psychiatrist. The medical evidence indicated that although Daniel had undergone some recovery from his amputation injury he was unlikely ever to return to the building site. The financial and emotional strain of his injury and unemployment led to a breakdown in the relationship with his partner.

The defendant failed to admit liability within the required three months. To apply more pressure we issued a pre-action application for disclosure. This prompted their admission of liability. Recognising Daniel’s financial difficulties, we immediately obtained for him an interim payment of £7,500. To help his recovery and return to work, we persuaded them to appoint a rehabilitation company. They provided the help and support Daniel needed to get temporary factory-based work whilst  retraining as a HGV driver.

The outcome

Daniel needed to re-sit his HGV exams a number of times and we secured a further interim payment of £5,000 to help him financially. Persistence paid off and he was given his licence and obtained a permanent new job as a HGV driver.

Soon afterwards we reached settlement terms with the insurers for this amputation/PTSD injury claim in the sum of £75,000 less DWP benefits. Happily, the improvement in our client’s employment situation and general condition also helped lead to a reconciliation with his partner. Daniel reported that he was “very satisfied” with all aspects of our service in handling his work amputation/PTSD injury.

The Lawyer

This work amputation injury/ PTSD claim was dealt with by Jeremy Horton, a Solicitor and Partner in the firm, specialising in more serious personal injury and industrial disease claims in Kent, Medway, Essex & beyond. Jeremy is passionate about helping injury and disease victims achieve fair compensation and rehabiliation/treatment for their injuries. He is an APIL accredited senior Litigator and the only APIL Accredited Occupational and Asbestos Disease Specialist solicitor in Kent, Medway, Essex, Surrey or Sussex. Jeremy can be contacted on 01622 680415 or at JeremyHorton@brachers.co.uk.

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