At the time of his accident our client was working as a collection and delivery driver for TNT Express. On 19 February 2016, he had been loading and secure packages onto his vehicle, when he sustained an injury.
Our client's vehicle was parked in the loading bay at the start of his shift. He was loading packages in the cramped space of his vehicle. When he had finished securing the packages in the back of his vehicle, he turned around and tripped on two long packages, falling to the ground.
Immediately after his fall, our client could feel pain in his left ankle and the back of his calf. A colleague took him to hospital, where an x-ray confirmed that he hadn't sustained any fractures, but his foot was swollen and he was required to wear a "moon boot" support for approximately two months. The hospital also referred him to a physiotherapist to help with the recovery of his ankle.
Our client could not return to work for nine weeks. He was paid sick pay during this time but lost out on overtime and bonuses – which usually amount to £65 a month. His injury meant that he could not complete important daily activities, such as household tasks and shopping, on his own. His brother and sister were required to help him with these.
Overall, the worst of his symptoms had subsided in four months, but he didn't fully recover from his ankle injury until a year after the accident.
The collection and delivery driver was able to instruct Thompsons Solicitors through his union, Unite.
Our client blamed his employer for the accident because they provided him with vehicles that did not have enough space in the rear for workers to move around. Workers are also instructed to overload the vehicles, creating many tripping hazards in a small space. Our work accident solicitors therefore intimated a compensation claim to his employer on the grounds of common law with reference to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
The defender – the insurers acting on behalf of the employer – admitted liability, but the compensation claim was not without complications.
The insurers tried to argue that our client was partly responsible for his own injury, arguing for a percentage of contributory negligence. It was their view that, as the employee should have been able to see the package on the floor, it was fair for the compensation award to be reduced by 30 percent. We did not agree with this view, and managed to reduce the contributory negligence amount to just 10 percent. We were also able to increase the settlement sum from £2,910 to £3,963.57. The case was therefore settled on 25 August 2017.