Unite member suffers life-changing injuries in workplace accident

A Unite member from the Wirral, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at work, has received substantial compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.  

Maintenance engineer, Tom Williams, was tasked with removing a pillar from the ceiling of the engineering stores to create a new walkway in the building where he worked. His employer failed to carry out a risk assessment to highlight the potential dangers of removing the pillar or to give Tom, and the team supporting him to remove the pillar, training on how best to complete the job.

The member used an angle grinder in an attempt to remove the bottom section of the pillar, and in doing so the top section of the structure fell from the ceiling, striking him on the head.

Tom suffered fractures to his neck, swelling to his brain and fell into a coma. Part of his skull had to be removed, and after spending seven months in hospital Tom now requires 24-hour care and supervision, which he will need for the rest of his life.

As a result of accident, Tom has aphasia and dysphasia, which limit his ability to understand and process words. He also suffers from fatigue, unsteadiness, right-sided hearing loss, tinnitus, neck pain and is prone to depression.

The accident has not only had a devastating effect on Tom’s life, but his family’s too. His wife, Barbara, suffers with depression and has had treatment from a psychologist to help her come to terms with her husband’s injuries.

Barbara, with the help of her brother Andrew Porter and other members of the family, instructed Unite Legal Services to pursue a claim for compensation for Tom in order to fund his long-term care needs.

Unite Legal Services secured a package of compensation, which included a funded care plan with guaranteed, index linked annual payments to cover the cost of 24-hour professional care, alongside further recurring payments and a capital sum to ensure Tom’s care needs will be met for the rest of his life.

Barbara said: “Our family has been left to pick up the pieces after a devastating accident. Tom has suffered so much, but so too has the whole family. He is a husband, father and grandfather, and we’ve had to witness how his life has been destroyed because of what has happened to him.

“Tom is a changed man; he will have to live with his conditions for the rest of his life supported by his family and carers. That’s why securing compensation was so important for us, so we knew that his long-term care needs will always be looked after.”

Mick Whitley, North West regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Tom was a hardworking employee whose life has been turned upside down by this tragic accident. His employer failed to follow routine health and safety, and the result is a catastrophic injury that has changed a longstanding employee’s life and that of his family forever.