Our client was an HGV driver for a national logistics company. He worked out of the firm's depot situated in Cumbernauld. Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland were contacted by his union, Unite, to handle the driver's manual handling shoulder injury claim.
Our client's main role was to deliver stock to branches of a major retailer. On the date of his accident in July 2017, he was in Aberdeen. As he attempted to open the back of his double-decker trailer, he found the door to be stiff, and requiring great force to open it. As our client attempted to open the doors he noticed a pulling sensation in his left shoulder.
At the next delivery point, our client found the doors were again very stiff. They required three to four attempts and significant force to open them. During this action our client realised that he had injured his shoulder. When he returned to the depot, our client reported the incident.
Prior to our client's manual handling shoulder injury, numerous complaints had been made to the Logistics Manager in respect of the suitability of the trailer doors and several of our client's colleagues had experienced similar difficulties and even suffered similar injuries. However, the employers failed to take steps to minimise the risk of injuries to employees.
Our client had to take six months off work as a result of the incident which had aggravated a previous shoulder injury. He lost earnings and incurred expenses as a result.
When Thompsons intimated the claim for work accident compensation, the defender denied liability. Thompsons gathered statements from a number of our client's colleagues who confirmed his assertion that the doors required maximum force to be opened and closed, and that the issue had been reported to the Logistics Manager many times prior to the date of our client's injury.
Thompsons solicitors also found evidence recorded on vehicle inspection and maintenance records in June 2017 and August 2017 that the doors had failed and the door catch required repair. We felt this was sufficient to prove liability.
At a pre-trial meeting the defenders intimated a work accident settlement sum of £5,000 with a 50-50 split in negligence (meaning that the defender considered our client 50% liable for his injuries).
We advised that he should not accept the offer and made a counter offer of £10,000. A further offer was intimated by the defender of £7,500. Once again, we advised our client that this sum was not sufficient and we maintained our position.
The defender eventually agreed to settle the matter in the sum of £10,000 on 5 February 2021.