Six-figure settlement secured for forklift driver after accident at work

Unite Legal Services has helped a 58-year-old woman from Gosport secure a six-figure settlement after an accident at work changed her life.

Senga Lock, who is employed as a forklift driver, was at work when a colleague reversed a two-tonne truck into her, trapping her between the wheels and resulting in her being dragged around the warehouse until the vehicle stopped.

Mrs Lock seriously injured her right foot and ankle and has since suffered with psychological issues. She also couldn’t return to work for 21 months.

The warehouse, where the accident happened, was overcrowded with extra stock due to her employer upgrading another facility and having to store more than usual in one place. Mrs Lock believes that the accident might not have happened if the warehouse was not overcrowded, as the driver would’ve been able to see her more clearly.

She said: “I used to love getting out and about, going on walking holidays with my husband or for a day trip on our motorbikes.

“We also loved to go out dancing, but all that’s behind us now. I can’t go anywhere without my crutches as my ankle just can’t bear the weight.”

Although Mrs Lock made significant progress through physiotherapy supplied by Unite Legal Services, she still struggles to perform basic tasks such as hoovering or showering.

However, her employers, who admitted liability for the accident at the outset, have helped her in a phased return to work.

Mrs Lock said: “I’m fortunate that my employer admitted fault and did what they could to help me during my recovery, supporting me first in an office role and later back into the warehouse, with a specially adapted forklift.

“I know that many employers are not so forgiving and that’s why being a union member is so vital. I’ve been with Unite the union for over 30 years and they’ve stuck by me all the way. Since the accident, I’ve even persuaded some of my workmates to join.

“I’ll always be affected by my injuries but thanks to the backing I got from Unite Legal Services, I’ll be able to get on with life much better than I thought was ever possible when the accident happened.”

Sarah Carpenter, Unite’s South East regional secretary, added: “I am so pleased we were able to achieve a successful outcome for Mrs Lock.

“The compensation will not only pay for a mobility scooter and cover any future loss of earnings she might face, but it will also allow her to have an adapted car so that she can drive with just her left foot. It will also allow her to live a life as normal as possible by helping to pay for her house to be adapted, including the installation of a lift between the lounge and bedroom.”

Because Mrs Lock pursued her claim with Unite Legal Services, she kept 100 per cent of her compensation.