Social Care Worker Back Injury Claim

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Our client, Ms K Johnston from Edinburgh, had been working for Edinburgh City Council as a Social Care Worker, a job she had been doing for 11 years, when she suffered a manual handling accident at work.

She was referred to Thompsons work accident solicitors through her union so we could pursue personal injury compensation on her behalf.

The background

On 9 August 2018, Ms Johnston was working with a bariatric service user who had complex needs. A previous carer had asked for an Occupational Therapist to assess the working protocols for the care plan and this had led to a breakdown in the relationship between care worker and the patient's family. Our client was asked to attend the service user.

On the day Ms Johnston visited the patient there were significant issues which meant the implementation of care was made extremely difficult. She and another colleague were required to lift the service user using a hoist, and as Ms Johnston did so, she suffered a back injury.

Our client had not received any training in the care of bariatric service users and there were significant failings in the risk assessment procedures for the service user. The equipment supplied and staffing levels were inadequate.

The consequences

Following the manual handling accident, our client could not to return to work for more than a month at which point her health was reviewed and a phased return was instigated.

We obtained an expert witness medical report which found that Ms Johnston had suffered a five to six-year acceleration injury to her back. This contradicted the defender's position that our client had suffered a zero to two-year acceleration.

The settlement

Thompsons work accident solicitors in Edinburgh intimated a claim in terms of Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 4 of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

We raised a claim in the courts and, ultimately, liability was admitted.

An initial back injury compensation settlement sum of £40,000 was offered by the defender but it was our opinion that this was too low. Ms Johnston therefore rejected the offer.

A subsequent offer of £50,000 was also rejected. A further offer of £65,000 was made by the defender and our client was happy to accept this amount.

Settlement was agreed on 10 January 2022.

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