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Motorway worker awarded significant compensation following brain injury

Unite Legal Services has secured £175,000 in compensation for a member who suffered a brain injury in an accident at work. 

Mr R was working on the M6 motorway in severe wind and rain and was tasked to take down a large sign, approximately 8-10 feet tall, secured to the central barrier. When Mr R stood on the central barrier to do so, he fell. His hard hat came off and his head struck the central barrier, causing a serious head injury.  

Mr R sustained a brain injury, which his expert neurologist categorised as severe. However, the other experts categorised it differently, ranging between mild to moderate to severe. As a result of his injury, Mr R was left with cognitive symptoms, psychological symptoms, migraines and balance problems. 

Mr R was aged 60 at the time of the accident, and was unable to return to work.  His employer argued he would have retired at age 63.  Unite Legal Services was therefore pleased to secure loss of earnings beyond age 65, as well as significant compensation for his injuries and other financial losses.    

Mr R’s employer admitted liability but tried to partially blame him – initially saying the accident was 50 per cent his fault and later 25 per cent.  Mr R successfully disputed this as the same method of removing the signs had been used without any criticism or comment for decades.

Commenting on his case, Mr R said: ‘‘I am very grateful to Unite Legal Services as my employers initially suggested the accident was my fault. The whole process involved me being examined by 10 experts and meeting with my barrister twice. We were kept informed at all times and by the end of it, I fully understood the litigation process. The service we received was outstanding.” 

Regional Secretary for Unite North West, Ritchie James, said: “The settlement shows that unsafe methods of work are still being used in the highways maintenance industry. Standing on a barrier in high winds was not a safe method to remove the roadway signage, and this led to the member’s serious injury.”