Delivery driver forced into early retirement after accident at work

A delivery driver, who suffered head and shoulder injuries after falling from a work vehicle, has secured £75,000 in compensation with the backing of Unite Legal Services. 

The 66-year-old suffered a head injury and damaged his left shoulder when he fell backwards from a seven-tonne van at a delivery depot. 

The driver, who had been working for the same company for over 10 years, lost his footing when attempting to step off the van and, when he tried to stop himself from falling he discovered that, unlike other vans he had driven in the company fleet, this vehicle didn’t have any support handles fitted and he fell backwards onto a concrete surface. 

After the accident, he was taken to hospital where he needed stitches to the back of his head, after striking a metal bar during the fall. He also needed surgery to his shoulder and despite subsequent physiotherapy treatment, is unlikely to make a full recovery. 

Due to the extent of his injuries, he was forced to leave his job. 

He said: “The fall really was a frightening experience. As soon as I hit the floor I knew my head was bleeding profusely and I was really shaken up. 

“Unfortunately that was just the start of my problems because the damage to my shoulder meant I couldn’t carry on with my job as a delivery driver. Despite lots of physiotherapy and exercise it still hasn’t recovered.” 

After his accident, he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation. 

The driver said: “I enjoyed working and had hoped to carry on, but at least with this compensation me and my wife are financially secure in my enforced early retirement. 

“Thanks to the support I received from Unite Legal Services I can enjoy more time with my family and grandchildren without money worries. I have been a union member for almost 40 years and encouraged all my work colleagues to take up union membership.” 

Janet Henney, regional officer at Unite the Union, said: “If the company had taken the proper steps to install safety handles in its fleet of vehicles then our client would not have sustained the long-term injuries. 

“By law, employers must take steps to protect its staff. In this case, the firm initially denied that safety handles were needed in the vehicles but Unite Legal Services proved that they were required to ensure delivery drivers can safely and securely enter and disembark their work vehicles without injury. 

“The compensation secured by Unite Legal Services allows our member and his family to have a secure retirement.”