Vehicle Builder's Accident at Work Claim for Hand Injury

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Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland were informed by Unite of a work accident involving a vehicle builder at Alexander Dennis Ltd. The accident occurred on 8 January 2019 at the company premises on Glasgow Road, Falkirk. The employee, Mr Ferguson, was referred to Thompsons workplace accident solicitors so that we could handle his claim for personal injury compensation.

The background

As part of his work assembling buses Mr Ferguson regularly used a 'huck gun'; a tool used to fix metal to metal using aluminium fasteners. The gun uses high force to compress the metal fasteners to create a strong fastening.

On the day of the workplace accident, Mr Ferguson was attaching a steel wheel arch to the side of a bus using a huck gun. As per his training, he was holding the gun horizontally, with his palm facing upwards, but as tried to pull the pin to create the 'crushing' movement on the collar of the fastener, the nozzle became stuck, causing the body of the gun to twist out of our client's hand, impacting heavily with his thumb as it did so.

The impact had caused a cut to Mr Ferguson's thumb and his thumb nail was split. A first aider attended to the wound on site and filled in an accident report. Our client then went back to work, albeit work that did not involve using the huck gun.

The following day Mr Ferguson woke to find his thumb was swollen and he was experiencing considerable pain. Despite this, he attended work but was sent to the A & E department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

An x-ray revealed crush injuries to his thumb including a chipped bone.

The consequences

Our client was unable to work for seven weeks as a result of the workplace injuries and despite being signed off by his GP was asked to return to work following a meeting with his employer's occupational health team. Our client refused.

Mr Ferguson lost a significant sum in overtime and bonus payments at work and because he was unable to play his guitar, he also lost payments for music performances that had been booked.

It became apparent during our work accident claim investigations that the huck gun our client had been using at the time of the personal injury accident was an old model which was in a state of disrepair. Duct tape had been used to hold the nozzle onto the gun. Our client believed that this was due to the age of the equipment and the inability to get replacement parts.

Our investigations also confirmed that Mr Ferguson suffered a crush injury to his right thumb at the level of the nail resulting in distal phalanx fracture, nail injury and nail deformity with the nail falling off multiple times. He also endured pain, with restriction of daily activities and work for 10 weeks, followed by intermittent nuisance level pain

The settlement

We intimated a claim to Mr Ferguson's employers under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Liability was admitted and a personal injury compensation settlement offer of £9,977 was put forward by the defender prior to litigation commencing.

Mr Ferguson accepted the offer. Settlement was agreed on 5 July 2021.

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