Injured member secures £5,500 in compensation with backing of Unite Legal Services

A Unite member has received £5,500 in compensation after being knocked over by an AA van.

At the time of the accident, Mr Watson who was employed as a bus driver at Olive Grove in Sheffield, was waiting to be collected after finishing his shift. He had been standing outside the depot for some time in the same spot, when an AA van suddenly reversed into him. The impact knocked him into the road.

Mr Watson visited Accident and Emergency at Sheffield Hospital the next day where he underwent a CT scan and X-rays, which showed that his neck and spine were badly bruised and he was suffering from whiplash-type injuries. He was signed off of work for six weeks by his GP.

When his symptoms did not improve, he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation. Unite Legal Services argued that the driver of the AA van had been negligent, as Mr Watson had been standing in the exact same spot for more than 20 minutes, therefore, the driver could not have kept a lookout while reversing. Evidence from a medical expert confirmed that the accident had caused a spinal sprain.

Liability was contested by the driver of the van, who claimed that no collision had taken place and Court proceedings were therefore commenced. Liability was disputed throughout and Court proceedings had reached an advanced stage when a settlement figure of £3,000 was put forward. This was rejected and a full and final compensation figure of £5,500 was accepted for Mr Watson’s injuries and loss of earnings.

Mr Watson said: “I was in a lot of pain following the accident, which lasted over six weeks. It was extremely frustrating as my injury not only affected my ability to work but also affected what I could and couldn’t enjoy in my personal life. The support and advice I received from Unite Legal Services after my accident was excellent. Even though my accident wasn’t work-related I was still able to claim for compensation, which is very reassuring.”

Karen Reay, North East Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Secretary of Unite the Union, said: “Mr Watson sustained injuries because a driver wasn’t concentrating. Unfortunately there are too many reports of avoidable accidents like this where a moment’s lapse in concentration can lead to unnecessary consequences.”