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Our client suffered a manual handling injury during the course of his employment as a delivery driver. He was referred to Thompsons by his union, Unite, so we could act on his behalf during his claim for personal injury compensation.

The background

Our client, a driver for Arrow XL, worked regularly with a colleague to carry out delivery of various goods, including heavy items, to customers' homes.

On the day of his accident at work in July 2021, our client's colleague was absent and a replacement worker needed to be found to assist with the day's schedule of deliveries.

A supervisor took charge of this and a boy, approximately 17 years of age and of slim build, was sent out with our client. The replacement worker had not received any manual handling training and our client knew immediately that he would be unable to manage the heavy lifting required.

Our client repeatedly called the traffic office at his place of work to tell them of the unsuitability of the replacement worker and the person who took his calls, assured him that a second replacement would be found. However, this did not occur.

Carrying on with his schedule of deliveries, our client and the boy made their way to an address in Faifley at Clydebank. At this address they needed to deliver a new fridge freezer and remove an old one. The property entrance was not on the ground floor and they were required to move the fridge freezers up and down a set of 15 to 20 narrow wooden stairs.

Having managed to get the new fridge freezer into the property they removed the old appliance. It was heavier than the new unit and our client decided that he should take the bottom of the appliance so he could take the most weight as they carried it down the stairs. He went down a few steps to take the weight, advising the replacement colleague that he should take his time as they lifted.

However, when they took the full weight of the appliance, the replacement worker let go immediately. Our client ended up with the full weight of the unit resting on him and he was pushed to the bottom of the stairs. Thankfully, he was able to get out of the way of the fridge freezer before it landed at the bottom of the stairs.

The consequences

Our client knew immediately that he had suffered an injury and would be unable to carry on with the scheduled deliveries. He managed to drive back to the depot and fill in an accident report form before leaving the workplace.

The following day, he attended the Accident and Emergency department at Stobhill Hospital where he was examined. He had suffered bruising to his chest, shoulder, both arms and right leg.

The settlement

Thompsons' personal injury solicitors intimated a claim to Arrow XL and liability was admitted.

We sought an expert medical report from a consultant in emergency medicine who confirmed that our client had suffered a wrenching injury to his shoulder. He noted there would be residual pain in the right side of our client's torso and in his right leg that would resolve within six to eight months. He also noted that our client's shoulder pain would gradually ease and be resolved in around 12 to 18 months from the accident date.

On receipt of the medical evidence, the defender's insurers made an initial settlement offer of £4,300. However, it was our opinion that this was a little low and so it was rejected.

A further offer of £5,600 was tendered by the insurers and once we had discussed the merits of this offer with our client, he was happy to accept.

The accident at work compensation settlement was agreed on 12 July 2022.

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