HGV driver compensated after suffering shoulder injury at work

An HGV driver who suffered a jarring injury to his left shoulder has received £12,500 compensation with support from Unite Legal Services after being struck by a falling cage at work.

On arriving at a sports retailer in Uxbridge, Greater London, 59-year-old Unite member Stuart Valente found that he needed a ramp to manoeuvre cages in and out of the shop’s delivery area. The area was only accessible by a seven-inch step and was blocked by a number of empty cages. 

Stuart pulled the empty cages from the elevated delivery area to the ground below. As he did so, one of the cages fell and struck him, jarring his left shoulder.

Stuart phoned his employer to inform them about the accident but was told to continue his shift as normal. Although he completed the delivery, he was in a lot of pain and he visited his GP as soon as he could.

After three months of persistent pain, he was referred for an ultrasound, which confirmed that he had damaged tendons in his shoulder.

As a result of the injury, he needed intermittent periods of time off work for the rest of the year, during which time he had an operation to repair the tendon and ease the pain in his shoulder. He couldn’t drive for several weeks following the operation and had physiotherapy to rebuild the muscle in his arm. 

Stuart contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation on his behalf.

He said: “My employer should have had a system in place to make sure that all of the cages were moved away from the delivery area once they had been emptied not left around blocking the area. This wasn’t the case and I was the one who suffered as a result.

“I owe a lot to Unite Legal Services, but also the hospital staff who made sure that I received the right treatment to regain the feeling in my arm. Without their hard work, I wouldn’t have been able to continue living my life as I did before the accident.”

Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary, said: “The build-up of cages made working at that particular store difficult and dangerous.

“The employer should have had an effective system in place to monitor delivery areas to make sure they were fit for purpose and not let them become a dumping ground. If it had done this, then Stuart’s accident would have been avoided and it would have stopped him from having time off work, suffering pain for months and needing an operation.

“With assistance from Unite Legal Services, Stuart has benefited from receiving 100% compensation for his injuries and financial losses.”