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Elbow Injury Claim – Maintenance Assistant Receives £50,000

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This case study relates to an accident at work claim following an incident at Honeywell Aerospace, Newbridge, Edinburgh in 2018.

On the date of the workplace accident, Mr John Swan, a Maintenance Assistant, was carrying out his employment duties when he suffered a trip accident which led to a serious elbow injury.

He was referred to Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland by his union so we could pursue personal injury compensation on his behalf.

The background

The accident occurred on Friday 2 November 2018. As part of his regular duties, Mr Swan had been checking for litter along the perimeter fence of the site. He was responsible for clearing any potential hazards caused by dumped rubbish.

As he approached an area with skips, he noticed that a pile of cardboard boxes had been left under a canopy. The boxes were wet and needed clearing away.

The area under contained other rubbish including pallets and pieces of wood. Mr Swan was concerned by the height of the pile of boxes as he felt it looked unstable and could potentially collapse, causing further risk and even injury to other workers.

As he attempted to move a pallet in order to access the boxes, a section of plastic packing ribbon which had been stuffed inside got caught around his foot and this caused him to trip and fall to the ground.

Mr Swan was immediately aware of pain in his arm. He made his way into the foyer of the main building to get help but collapsed as a result of the pain when he got there. A first aider came to assist him.

Two colleagues took Mr Swan to St John's Hospital in Livingstone. X-rays revealed that his elbow was dislocated and he had suffered multiple fractures to the bones in his arm. Mr Swan was advised that he would need to undergo surgery at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and so he was transported there later that day.

The consequences

During Mr Swan's elbow surgery, pins and plates were inserted into his arm and he was required to stay in hospital until the following Monday.

Following the workplace accident, Mr Swan was unable to carry out his favourite hobbies or look after his granddaughter. He was unable to do any heavy lifting and so was unable to return to work for seven months.

Eventually, he left the employment of Honeywell Aerospace and was forced to take lower paid work elsewhere as a result of the residual symptoms of his injury.

The settlement

We intimated a claim to Mr Swan's employer and liability was denied. After significant correspondence with the employer their position was that the accident had been caused by stores people.

We proceeded to gather evidence to strengthen our case against Honeywell Aerospace and obtained the accident report and RIDDOR report in respect of the workplace accident. We also obtained a colleague's witness statement which confirmed that pallets were often left in the area where Mr Swan's injury occurred.

Training records and risk assessment documents were reviewed and our personal injury solicitors felt there was sufficient evidence of liability to raise an action against Mr Swan's employers in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court.

Medical evidence in the form of an expert report confirmed that Mr Swan had suffered a fractured and dislocated elbow which required metalwork. The report also detailed that Mr Swan was continuing to suffer residual symptoms of pain and restricted movement, and that these were likely to be permanent.

Shortly ahead of a pre-trial meeting, the defender's legal team made a settlement offer of £35,000.

We discussed this offer with Mr Swan and while it was a reasonable offer we felt there was scope for an improvement in the sum. Mr Swan rejected this offer.

The defender then put forward another settlement sum of £50,000. Mr Swan was delighted to accept this. The accident at work claim settlement was agreed on 21 July 2022.

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