£100,000 compensation secured after workplace accident causes physical and psychological injuries

A Unite member who suffered a workplace injury that caused physical and psychological injuries has been awarded more than £100,000 in compensation. 

The 56-year-old man from Rotherham was sent by his employer to fix a roller shutter door at a client’s premises when the ladder he was using slipped and fell from beneath him, causing him to fall more than five metres onto concrete ground. 

He was rushed to hospital where it was confirmed that he had a broken elbow, wrist and ribs as well as a spinal injury. 

The injuries to his body were so serious that he needed operations to his ribs, back and spine and a course of physiotherapy for his wrist injury. 

He also suffered a mild head injury, which caused post-concussion syndrome and he continues to have therapy for this. The psychological impact of the fall has included memory loss, personality changes and depression. 

Since the accident, he has not been well enough to return to work and there is no certainty that he will fully recover or be able to work again. 

He sought advice from Unite Legal Services who investigated a claim for compensation on his behalf. His employer accepted liability for the accident and its insurers paid out £102,000 compensation.  

The Unite member said: “I know that my injuries are something I have to learn to live with, but I’m finding it so difficult to accept. The post-concussion syndrome has noticeably changed my outlook on life, I’m quick to temper with a short fuse and struggle with my mood, which causes me to feel depressed. I’m not the same person, and this is upsetting for me and my family. 

“The financial worry of not working has caused added stress, as I couldn’t see how I could live and support my family without an income. Having the support of Unite Legal Services has certainly helped to ease this concern, although I don’t want to rely on my compensation to help me survive financially forever. I want to be healthy enough to go out and work.” 

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “This really is a tragic case and one that could have been so easily avoided if our member’s employer had trained staff on safe working at height. An employee had to suffer life-changing injuries before they trained the remaining staff, which is simply too little too late. 

“The financial pressure of not being able to work, and coming to terms with how his life has changed because of his injuries has been extremely traumatic. We ensured that his employer has been held to account for the very real consequences of this shocking breach of health and safety.”