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Home > News > Personal Injury News

27th February 2006

Youth centre worker from County Durham is awarded £33,750 personal injury compensation for accident at work

Clear Answers' specialist personal injury lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors have recently won £33,750 compensation in an accident claim for a 51 year old man who suffered a back injury at work.

Dean Gibbon who was employed at the Chester-le-Street Youth Centre injured his back in March 2002 while he was trying to move a deflated bouncy castle from the gymnasium into the storeroom.

Mr Gibbon was working alone and had lifted one side of the rolled-up bouncy castle onto a trolley, when he attempted to lift the other side and injured his lower back.

Liability Disputed

Unfortunately, his employers, Durham County Council were not prepared to accept responsibility for Mr Gibbon's accident and his Solicitors had to issue legal proceedings. The case was heard in Newcastle-upon-Tyne County Court in January 2006.

During the trial, the Judge had to decide whether or not Mr Gibbon's version of events was true and whether his accident occurred at all. This was because his employers alleged that he had invented the accident after they had issued him with a letter advising him that he was to be subject to a disciplinary hearing due to his sickness record and poor time-keeping.

Dean Gibbon claimed that on the day of his accident, he was working alone and no other members of staff were available to help him. He also stated that it was normal procedure for the bouncy castle to be put away by one person despite the fact that the Manual Handling Regulations and Health and Safety Risk Assessment stated that the moving of the castle should never be done alone. Mr Gibbon's statement was supported by witnesses.

Employers' Liability

The Judge found that Durham County Council were in breach of Manual Handling Regulations and were negligent because they had failed to adopt the recommended system.

The Judge also found that there was no evidence to show that Mr Gibbon had been dishonest and accepted that he had been injured in the way he described. His employers then had to settle his personal injury claim, which had been backed by his trade union, UNISON.

Michael Bray from Thompsons Solicitors in South Shields said "Employers can't expect to expose employees to unacceptable risks at work and then refuse to support them when injuries occur. While compensation can never make up for the difficulties Dean has faced, we are very pleased with the outcome of the case."

Dean Gibbons said "I am so pleased to be vindicated at last. I was simply following normal procedures for putting away the bouncy castle as I had observed others doing. I have suffered a lot of pain and loss of earnings and this compensation will certainly help to get me back on track."

Making a claim for personal injury compensation

If you or a member of your family has been injured at work, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. You may even be able to make a claim if one of your relatives has died due to an accident at work.

Clear Answers' Solicitors are experts in dealing with personal injury claims and can offer you an expert legal service.

For more information or to begin a claim for compensation, telephone us on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

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