Thompsons Work Accident Case Studies

Warehouse worker’s manual handling claim – June 2017

On the morning of 11 March 2016, Gary Ferguson, a warehouse operative with the Co-operative Group, was two and a half hours into his shift when he suffered a manual handling injury to his back.

Mr Ferguson, a 53-year-old from Lanarkshire, had been emptying a double-decker trailer. However, this process had been complicated by the fact that an undergate was jammed – a common occurrence in his workplace – and in trying to lift a cage in these circumstances he had felt his back strain almost immediately.

The consequences

Although Mr Ferguson did not initially report his injury, within a few hours he felt the pain in his back was unmanageable and was unable to continue with his shift.

After informing his supervisor of his injury, he was taken to the first aid area where he then had ice applied to his back. Shortly afterwards he was taken to Wishaw General Hospital where he was given painkillers. Following this hospital visit he saw his GP, who prescribed Naproxen and Solpadol for this pain.

He missed three weeks of work, but even when he returned he continued to experience pain. He was unable to drive, unable to help around the house and unable to sleep.

On returning to work Mr Ferguson and his colleagues received a safety briefing regarding correct health and safety in the event of the undergate becoming jammed. According to Mr Ferguson this was the first time he and his colleagues had ever received such a briefing.

The settlement

A claim was intimated against Mr Ferguson’s employers through Thompsons and via his union, USDAW. Liability was initially repudiated on the basis that Mr Ferguson should have asked the Engineers for assistance when the undergate was jammed.

However, Mr Ferguson denied this proposition and advised it was common practice for all employees to try and unjam the undergate.

This position was supported by witness evidence from two of Mr Ferguson’s colleagues and these statements were forwarded to the insurance company. As a result, the Co-operative changed their position on liability and confirmed they were willing to discuss settlement.

A report by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon confirmed the existence of a soft tissue injury to Mr Ferguson’s back. It also confirmed that degenerative changes had been rendered symptomatic by a period of three to four years as a result of the accident.

An initial offer of £8,505.09 was put forward in full and final settlement. This offer was discussed but rejected. A further offer of £9,505.09 manual handling injury compensation was put forward in full and final settlement. This offer was discussed and accepted on 27 June 2017.


Claim for water response engineer's tennis elbow – June 2017

Our client was employed by Scottish water in February 1993 as a water response engineer. This is a role that required him to do heavy, repetitive work, such as digging and excavating, repairing burst mains, boring mains, and turning valves. He had to carry out these types of activities every day.

To complete these jobs, the workers must use many different types of heavy machinery – Stihl saws, boring machines, and jack hammers as well as an iron crow bar and shovel. All of these can be very taxing for the operator, especially when they're used for long periods of time. There's also a lot of manual labour involved – for instance, when they're working on burst pipes, workers are required to turn the valves by hand. Many of these valves are extremely stiff and need a lot of force to be turned.

This strenuous workload increased in 2010, when Scottish Water started expecting their employees to carry out jobs quicker.

He believes that the years he spent in his role has led him to develop a painful condition known as tennis elbow.

The consequences

The water response engineer first noticed symptoms in November 2013, when a niggling pain developed in his right elbow and gradually became worse, eventually getting to the point where he couldn't wash, dress, or even lift a cup. His GP diagnosed him with tennis elbow, and he was absent for a period of two weeks. He then tried to return on light duties, but the persistent pain soon meant he couldn't continue, and he took a much longer absence from December 2013 to July 2014.

After resting his arm, physiotherapy sessions, and cortisone injections failed to help, our client was told he needed to have an operation – a tennis elbow decompression operation, which he had on 17 April 2015. Although his symptoms had improved at this time, he was still in a lot of pain. He returned to work again on light duties from May 2015 until November 2015.

He believes that the nature of his work is to blame for his tennis elbow, as he does not partake in any other activities, such as tennis or golf, that could have contributed to its development. His employer had therefore breached the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

The settlement

Prior to this case, Thompsons' work accident solicitors had helped other workers claim compensation from Scottish Water for similar injuries. We were therefore confident of the case's chances of success and proceeded to intimate a claim. Our client instructed us through his union, UNISON. We took a full statement from him detailing the nature of his employment and his subsequent injuries.

To help our client reach a fair settlement, we gathered witness statements and instructed an expert medical report, which confirmed the injuries were likely down to the client's work. We sent this information to the representatives of Scottish water (the defender), but they didn't respond with any offers. We therefore raised court action in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court to protect our client's position from limitation. But the defender denied responsibility and requested the action against them be abandoned. They said that they had obtained their own medical report that concluded his injuries were only exacerbated by his work, not caused by it. They also said that our client's ex-partner has contacted them and informed them that he was exaggerating his symptoms.

However, despite these complications we encountered in the claims process, the medical expert who conducted the report for us stood by his opinion and remained supportive of the case. And we didn't believe the evidence from the ex-partner would have too much of a damaging effect on the case. Therefore, we continued with the action, and the defender eventually put forward an offer of £5,000. We believed that this was too low considering the amount of suffering the client endured because of the injury, but the client advised that he wished to accept the offer. Because of the involvement of his ex-partner, the case had been very stressful for him, and he wished to settle the case as soon as possible. We respected his wishes and on 26 June 2017 accepted the £5,000 compensation on his behalf.

Our client was happy to settle the case and was grateful to Thompsons Solicitors for providing a "professional and caring" service.


Glasgow gallery accident case study – June 2017

On 17th October 2014 our client, a 63-year-old UNISON member from Glasgow, was working as a visitor assistant at an art gallery on Argyle Street when she suffered injury as a result of an accident in the workplace.

She was coming to the end of her late shift and in line with her duties was in the process of pushing a wheeled 3ft by 4ft piano from outside to inside the gallery when the entire front section of the instrument fell off, striking her on her left ankle and foot; the site of an injury she sustained during another work accident, on 22nd January 2014.

The consequences

The injury caused our client significant immediate pain. As a result she was no longer able to continue working her shift and ice was applied to the injury. A colleague had to drive her home.

It later emerged that the piano had been reported as defective only days earlier but our client had not been informed of this.

The settlement

The gallery worker instructed Thompsons through UNISON to make a work accident claim at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court.

Thompsons personal injury solicitors arranged for the pursuer to be examined by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who confirmed that she sustained an injury to her left foot and ankle. The medical report therefore allowed for a six week period of recovery.

The defendant offered to settle the injury claim for £600 after the medical report had been lodged. This was rejected.

Later, £1,300 was put forward as full and final settlement. This offer was discussed and it was confirmed that it was a reasonable offer in terms of the available medical evidence. Our client accepted this offer.


Warehouse operative claims for soft tissue injury to back – June 2017

During the course of his employment with DHL, our client, a warehouse operative, was involved in a workplace accident.

As part of his duties, the claimant had to load 40-foot articulated lorries with deliveries – chilled foods, to be more specific – that the vehicles then take to a Sainsbury's store. To do this, our client and his colleagues were charged with transporting the goods to the loading bay and then on to the lorry using a vehicle known as an order picker. This is a machine our client had been fully trained on. The chilled foods are stored in cages, and the forks located at the back of the order picker can carry three cages at a time.

At the time of his accident, our client was located in aisle eight of the warehouse, loading cages on to the order picker's forks. A colleague operating another order picker entered the aisle from the opposite end to where our client was working. Because this was at night, other workers had been pulling out all the cages towards the centre of the aisle so they could organise them for the next morning. This meant that the width of the aisle was reduced to approximately one metre, giving our client's colleague a very narrow space in which to manoeuvre. There was also a spillage of yoghurt on the aisle's floor, which was unknown at this time to both our client and his colleague, who drove over the yoghurt while travelling at speed towards our client's stationary vehicle. This meant when he tried braking, he did not stop soon enough and collided head-on with the claimant's vehicle.

Our client was climbing back into his order picker when the collision happened. His right leg was already in, meaning it jolted back with the vehicle during the impact, causing immediate pain in his right leg, hips, and lower back.

The consequences

After completing an accident report, our client returned to work, but his increasing pain soon meant he was unable to continue.

The following day he visited his GP, who provided him with exercises to help the soft tissue injury. He was also given pain-relief medication. His GP also provided him with a sick line for seven days, but this was extended for a further seven days when he returned to see her again the following week. Overall, our client was absent from work for two weeks, during which time he didn't sustain any loss of earnings.

He did, however, struggle around the house. His injury meant that he needed assistance with daily activities, and his wife and son had to help out with tasks such as walking the dog. He had previously been diagnosed with sciatica. To help with this condition, our client uses an exercise bike five times a week, but his injury meant he was unable to continue these exercises.

The settlement

The employer should have made sure there was a safe working system in place. However, they clearly didn't enforce a "clean-as-you-go" policy or have site services on hand to clear up, as the yoghurt spillage remained on the floor, nor did they ensure that all workers were properly trained on the order picker, as the co-worker that hit our client shouldn't have been travelling so fast. Because of this, DHL was in violation of its duties as an employer to prevent accidents at work.

We therefore intimated a claim against DHL with the help of our client's union, Unite.

DHL admitted liability pre-litigation and made an offer of £1,000. Thompsons' work accident solicitors advised the client that this offer was too low, and in order to get a fairer offer, we obtained a medical report on our client's injuries, which was sent along with a full valuation to the insurer acting on behalf of DHL.

Because the defender failed to respond to this new information, we decided to raise the case in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. The defender then tendered the sum of £3,400 in full and final settlement, which we discussed with our client. We advised that the offer was in line with what the court would likely make, but there was the possibility of a slight increase. However, our client confirmed he wanted to accept the offer of £3,400, and the case was settled on 20 June 2017.


Mechanic's claim for crushed foot in machinery accident – June 2017

On 23 February 2016, our client, a mechanic employed by South Lanarkshire Council, was involved in a workplace accident that left him with an injury to his foot.

As a mechanic based at the Strathaven Depot, our client's job was to maintain all the machinery and plant, carrying out repair work whenever it was needed.

On the day of the accident, a colleague asked our client to help him repair a JCB digger. The digger wasn't starting because of a hydraulic oil leak. Our client had just recently returned to work on light duties after an operation to help the carpel tunnel syndrome in his right hand. He therefore just had to stand next to the digger and hold a lamp while his colleague climbed on to the machine. To locate the leak, the colleague had to turn the digger on, but he accidentally hit one of the levers used to control the digger's tracks, causing the machine to move forward and run over our clients left foot and shin.

The digger was on our client's foot for a couple of minutes before a few of his colleagues were able to reverse it off.

The consequences

The injury caused our client to feel pain and discomfort in his foot for a number of weeks. Because of this ongoing pain and stiffness, our client requested to be referred to a physiotherapist, who thought that the he had ligament damage and suggested he see his GP.

His GP didn't think there were any fractures to the foot but sent our client for an ultrasound to be sure. The ultrasound showed that it was most likely tendon damage. By this time (30 July 2016), our client's foot was feeling much better anyway, and he'd almost made a full recovery.

The pain meant several household tasks became far more challenging. Cutting the grass, walking the dog, and simply making his way up and down the stairs was a struggle, and he therefore required help from his girlfriend.

He encountered further difficulty when trying to partake in his main hobby, weight lifting. Although upper-body workouts were fine, he wasn't able to do any exercises involving his lower body for three to four months, which also meant he couldn't do any cardio work. He incurred several out-of-pocket expenses as he had to pay for petrol to get to his medical appointments and buy pain relief medication.

Despite his injury, our client was still able to walk and so chose not to take any time off work. Instead, his employer placed him on light duties (just as he'd been doing prior to the accident). Therefore, he didn't sustain any loss of earnings.

The settlement

The mechanic decided to instruct Thompsons' personal injury solicitors through his union, Unite.

Our client had a few reasons to blame his employer for the accident. Firstly, they didn't carry a risk assessment that specifically covered the use of the JCB digger. They only conducted a generic one that covered every machine. They also failed to provide employees with adequate training on the JCB digger, which would likely have prevented this particular accident from happening. This is because, as our client found out after the accident, the levers could be removed from the digger, eliminating the risk of them being accidentally pressed. Had he and his colleague received proper training, they would have known this. Because of these factors, our client doesn't place the blame on the colleague who was operating the digger.

To help us value the claim, we instructed a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to examine our client and put together a medical report. This report confirmed he had suffered a soft tissue injury to his left foot and ankle, allowing for a six month period of recovery.

We sent this information along with our full valuation to the defender (the insurance company acting on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council). Upon receipt, they put forward an offer of £4,350 in full and final settlement. We then discussed this offer with our client, advising that it was a reasonable offer based on the available medical evidence. On 19 June 2017, the mechanic confirmed he wanted to accept the £4,350 compensation for his crush injury caused in a machinery accident.


Compensation for HGV driver's Hand Injury – June 2017

Our client, Mr Reuben Gould, was working as an HGV driver for Barrett's Steel Services when, on the afternoon of 15 June 2015, he sustained an injury to two of his fingers while offloading steel packs to Robinsons Scotland in Lockerbie.

Mr Gould had reversed his HGV, carrying 27 tonnes of steel, into Robinson Scotland's depot ready for forklift drivers to unload the steel beams which were stacked on top of each other on the vehicle's trailer. On noticing that the Robinson's forklift would struggle to reach the steel pack stacked at the top, Mr Gould advised the driver that he would climb onto the trailer to assist in the unloading. He went up to the top pack to assist the driver with lining up the forks. Our client made eye contact with the driver so he knew the driver was aware of his presence on the trailer. However, the driver did not wait for him to get to the top and tried to move one of the packs, causing two packs to move together with Mr Gould's hand trapped in between them.

The consequences

After he was able to free his left hand, Mr Gould realised there was blood pouring from his glove. He was taken to the A&E department at the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, where he was given an X-ray that confirmed he had an open fracture to his index finger and a cumulative fracture to his middle finger. He needed stitches for the laceration to his finger and was also required to make repeat visits to the hospital to have his dressings changed, for check-ups, and for physiotherapy sessions.

The forklift accident caused swelling of Mr Gould's middle finger and the loss of nails on both fingers. An examination by a consultant hand surgeon confirmed that he would suffer permanent loss of grip and cold intolerance symptoms.

The pain meant Mr Gould had problems with many daily activities, such as washing and dressing himself, causing him much inconvenience and affecting his quality of life. He also struggled with looking after his six-year-old stepson and couldn't take part in his favourite hobby, football, for ten weeks. What's more, his injury was the source of even further stress because he got married just four weeks after the incident, and the pain was still affecting him during the day.

Mr Gould was absent from work for ten weeks. He was paid his basic wage over this time but still suffered some loss of earnings as he missed out on overtime work. Additional expenses arose from him having to drive to his medical appointments and pay for pain relief medication.

The settlement

The claim was made with the assistance of Mr Gould's union, Unite. Mr Gould placed the blame on the forklift driver for not paying close enough attention to his task.

The insurance company acting on behalf of Robinsons denied liability, as they stated that our client should not have been helping the driver in the first place. In fact, as Mr Gould's actions were thought to be a breach of health and safety rules, he had disciplinary proceedings raised against him. But all proceedings were dropped when it was decided there was no case.

To help Mr Gould's compensation claim, Thompsons expert personal injury solicitors were able to obtain information from HSE that contravention notices, which confirmed the forklift use was not suitable, had been served on Robinsons. We also gathered witness statements from colleagues who agreed it was normal practice for an HGV driver to help the forklift driver when removing steel packs.

Having gathered this supporting evidence, which included the medical evidence of Mr Gould's permanent symptoms, we raised the case in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. Shortly thereafter, the defendant made an offer of £16,000. We advised our client this was a reasonable offer based on the medical evidence available, and he chose to accept it on 19 June 2017.


Kill Line Operative Work Accident Claim – June 2017

On the morning of 12 January 2015 our client, David Orchiston, a 47-year-old slaughterhouse kill line operative from South Ayrshire was being officially trained on the second leg stage of the kill line when he sustained injury in a workplace accident.

He had been attempting to skin the left leg and left side of an animal when his knife became jammed in hardened faeces. In line with the instruction he had received, he tried, using extra force, to cut through the matter. However, the seven-inch-long, one-inch-thick knife slipped, causing him to cut his left forearm just below the elbow.

At first Mr Orchiston did not realise that he had cut himself, but soon realised that blood was pouring from the site of his wound.

The consequences

Mr Orchiston received prompt first aid for his injury and was then taken to Ayr Hospital’s accident and emergency department where he received an x-ray. He was advised that he would need an operation later that day in order to clean up the wound site and to check for nerve damage.

Following the operation he was informed that he had sustained ulnar nerve damage and this would likely lead to permanent impairment of the use of his left ring and little finger. In the aftermath of the accident he had difficulty performing basic daily tasks such as getting dressed.

The consequences

A claim was initiated with Thompsons personal injury solicitors following a referral from Mr Orchiston’s union, USDAW. Liability was denied. The employer contended that the task was adequately risk assessed and that Mr Orchiston had been provided with adequate training.

However, we obtained supportive witness evidence to confirm that complaints had been made about hardened faeces on carcasses prior to Mr Orchiston’s accident but no action had been taken to provide safer working conditions.

An action was raised at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court on our client’s behalf and medical evidence was submitted by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. This report confirmed that the pursuer sustained ulnar nerve damage at his left elbow and that this would cause permanent symptoms including reduced grip strength in his hand and altered sensation in the medial side of his wrist.

The defenders made a formal offer in the sum of £10,500 plus recoverable benefits. This offer was rejected. A further offer of £13,000 plus payment to the Government in the sum of the recoverable benefits was put forward. This offer was also rejected. A further offer of £14,000 work injury compensation, plus recoverable benefits to the Government, was then made and accepted on 16 June 2017.


Warehouse Operative Compensation Claim – June 2017

Our client was working as a warehouse operative for DHL Services Limited when, on the morning of 7 September 2016, he suffered a fall while working in a warehouse.

To receive a delivery, the warehouse worker was required to open the door of the building and raise a ramp up to the vehicle. A metal seal, running along the side of the ramp, had come loose and as he was walking up the ramp to the delivery vehicle, our client tripped over the seal and landed on his right side.

The consequences

The immediate impact of the trip accident at work caused our client to feel pain in his right hand and on the lower right side of his back, which felt severe. After completing an accident report, he felt able to return to work. However, the pain in his lower back became worse to the point where he was unable to continue.

Our client attended a GP appointment, where he was informed he had sustained a shock injury to his body. Our client had pre-existing problems with arthritis and rib pain, and had previously organised an appointment at Hairmyres Hospital for a scan of his ribs prior to the accident. He mentioned his accident to the hospital staff at the scan so that they could check his lower back for problems, but no problems were detected.

Following the accident, the claimant was absent from work for six and a half weeks. During this time he received his basic pay, but he was not paid for the first three days of his absence. He also sustained a loss of approximately £24 taking taxis to the hospital and a few more pounds for medication he had to pay for himself.

The pain caused by the accident meant our client struggled with household tasks – such as cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, and hoovering – for about four weeks. Actions that required him to stretch below his knees, such as getting dressed, became too painful to carry out without assistance. Sleeping was also very difficult, and he ended up having to sleep on a massage mat on the floor for five weeks.

The settlement

The warehouse worker instructed Thompsons work accident injury solicitors in Scotland through his union, Unite.

Our client blamed his employer for the incident, as there was a failure to carry out the necessary maintenance tasks on the ramp. Colleagues who had previously used the ramp were also aware of the hazard but failed to report it.

The argument for employer's liability was made in reference to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The defendant admitted liability and made an initial offer of £4,175. However, following advice from Thompsons' personal injury solicitors, the claimant was able to receive a much higher settlement than he was originally offered.

After discussion with our expert solicitors, our client refused the first offer, causing the insurers acting on behalf of DHL Excel to make an increased offer of £4,675. Again, we advised him not to accept. A third offer was made, which we recommended he accept, and he received a settlement of £4878.58 on the 16 June 2017.


Security officer work injury case study – June 2017

On 6 April 2016 our client, a 56-year-old civilian security officer based at an MOD facility in Faslane was at the midway point of a 12-hour shift when she had to open a valiant gate in order to let a crane pass through onto the site.

However, because of construction work being carried out on the walkway she was unable to place the gate’s standing leg down to secure it in the open position. Additionally, the gate’s electronic system was not working correctly, so the operation had to be performed manually, something the pursuer had never done before.

As a consequence, when the woman was walking away the unsecured gate was blown by the wind and closed without warning, hitting her forcefully on the left-hand side of her body.

Shortly after the accident, our client informed her supervisor of the workplace accident, and another colleague helped complete an accident report form.

The consequences

Unfortunately, the MOD sick bay advised the woman she could not be treated on site, as she was a civilian.

As such, she was then taken to the Minor Injuries Unit at the Vale of Level Hospital where she was examined for limited movement in her arm and shoulder as well as pain in her hip. She was diagnosed as suffering from soft tissue injuries. These injuries forced the pursuer to stay off work until 2 May.

The settlement

Thompsons personal injury solicitors were instructed by the woman via her union and a vicarious liability claim was intimated to the Ministry of Defence’s insurers.

Pre-litigation the defender advised that it was willing to settle the case but the insurers stalled in putting forward an offer. Court proceedings were therefore raised in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. Shortly after this, a Tender was lodged in the sum of £1,500.

However, following further claims process consultations an offer of £2,000 workplace accident compensation was accepted on 6 June 2017.


Successful claim for HAVS sufferer – June 2017

In this case, our client had developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) after years of working with handheld vibrating tools including impact guns and grinders. At the time of his diagnosis, his employer was Terex Equipment Limited, where he'd worked since 1993. In previous employment, he made only little or no use of vibrating tools, so the development of his HAVS came about solely as a result of his employment at Terex Equipment Limited.

Our client was an assembly worker, a role which required him to assemble trucks from start to finish. This work included fitting engines, axels, and wheels, and an impact gun was used for tightening nuts and bolts. Our client had to use this tool throughout the working day.

No warnings were given about the dangers of using the impact gun or similar vibrating tools, nor did the employer ever place restrictions on the amount of time employees used them. Training on how to properly handle the tools was not provided.

The consequences

When our client first became aware of his symptoms, he noticed that his fingers had started to turn white. At first it was his three middle fingers that were affected, and they only changed colour in the cold, but soon all his fingers could change white no matter the weather. This was accompanied by pain, and while the colour of his fingers could turn back to normal after 30 minutes, the pain remained. He would also feel a tingling in his fingers whenever he used vibrating tools.

His HAVS was eventually diagnosed in 2009 by his occupational health department, but his employer failed to do anything to control his exposure levels. He would be seen again for an occupational health assessment in 2014, by which time his symptoms had become worse. It was at this point he was told that he should stop using vibrating tools permanently.

The condition has meant that our client can no longer participate in certain activities he enjoyed. He used to repair and service his family's cars as well as his own, but now they have to be taken to a garage. He also had enjoyed baking and gardening work, but his HAVS has made these far more difficult to do.

The settlement

Our client instructed us through his union, Unite. We took a statement to detail the history of his exposure to vibrating tools and we recovered occupational health records as well as statements from his work colleagues, who confirmed the levels of exposure.

From studying the gathered evidence, we were confident that our client's employer was likely to have been guilty of negligence in the workplace, as they should have realised they were putting workers at risk of injury. We believed the employer to be in breach of their common law and statutory duties of care under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations by not restricting the use of vibrating tools. And although our client was originally diagnosed in 2009 (meaning that he had already passed the time limit for making a personal injury claim), our client's employer was still guilty of ongoing negligent exposure that worsened his symptoms.

Considering all of the above, we decided that the case had a good chance of success and so decided to mount the claim. We instructed a medical report to confirm the severity of his HAVS.

However, we were unable to negotiate a settlement with the defender and so raised action in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

Our work accident solicitors then instructed a further medical report that confirmed there had been excessive exposure to vibration. This acted as clear evidence that the employer had breached their duty of care.

After the defender obtained their own medical report, which we believe supported the diagnosis of HAVS, they put forward an offer of £12,500. We discussed this amount with our client, and he instructed us to accept it. He was very satisfied with the result and with our solicitors, commenting that all the work had been completed to the "highest standard". The settlement was made on June 1 2017.


Ayrshire Trip Injury at Work Claim – May 2017

On 7th July 2016 our client, then a 57-year-old packer with Mahle Engine Systems in Kilmarnock Ayrshire, was nearly three hours into her morning work shift when she was involved in a workplace accident.

She had just left her workplace canteen and was traversing the central car park’s rough and uneven pedestrian walkway when she tripped and fell despite the fact she was wearing her regulation safety work shoes.

Our client tried to break her fall with her left hand but sustained a serious laceration to her palm. She also noticed immediate pain in her left elbow as well as in both knees.

After crying out in pain and unable to get to her feet unassisted, she was helped to her work’s medical room by two colleagues, where she then received first aid

The consequences

The workplace trip accident left our client in significant pain and caused her to miss four days of work.

Although she remained in pain for some time and had some discomfort while driving, her injuries did not cause her to miss any hobby or leisure activities, although it did result in her having trouble climbing stairs and performing basic household chores such as dusting and cleaning.

The settlement

After instructing Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland through her union, Unite, the 57-year-old initiated a workplace accident claim against her employer, alleging that they failed to provide a reasonably safe working environment. It was argued that failure to maintain a safe pedestrian walkway was in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

An insurance company acting on behalf of Mahle Engine Systems admitted liability and after receiving accident and medical reports made an offer of £3,000 trip injury compensation.

However, the client agreed with us that this constituted an unacceptable offer. She later accepted an increased offer of £3,711.80 on 31 May 2017.


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