Unite Legal Services secures £200,000 in compensation for member after life-changing fall

A former HGV driver has received £200,000 in compensation after being injured in a fall at work that forced him to resign from his job.

Unite member, Peter, who had started work for a car transport firm just two weeks prior, was walking down the length of the transport vehicle checking the car positions, when he suddenly slipped and lost his footing. He reached out and grabbed the safety cable to stop him from falling. However, the cable snapped and he fell 11 foot onto the ground below.

After his fall he was taken to hospital and x-rays showed that he had shattered his left forearm like an ‘eggshell’, fractured his wrist and broken three of his ribs.

He required two operations to insert plates and pins into his arm and wrist and underwent a course of physiotherapy.

Unfortunately Peter had to resign from his job a year after the accident due to not receiving any income from his employer and subsequently had to find alternative employment. He now has a permanent disability and can no longer carry out jobs which involve heavy lifting.  

Peter contacted Unite Legal Services to pursue a compensation claim on his behalf. Investigations carried out by an independent medical expert revealed that the accident had accelerated symptoms of a pre-existing osteo-arthritic condition, and that Peter was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Although his employer admitted primary liability for the accident, it made allegations in relation to contributory negligence.

Peter said: “The injury has really limited what I can do, it’s devastating. The support I’ve received from Unite Legal Services was fantastic, guiding me through the claim so that I understood what was going on every step of the way, which was all the more invaluable to me at a time when I was so low.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “This case is a stark reminder of the importance of health and safety in the workplace. It is completely unacceptable that this employer had our member work at considerable height without providing him with the appropriate safety equipment to prevent him from falling or checking that the equipment was in a safe state of repair.

“Unite Legal Services secured substantial compensation for our member, ensuring that his employer was held to account for its negligence.”