´╗┐ Unsafe construction site working practices–injury at work compensation for worker’s amputated leg
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Home > News > Construction worker seeks personal injury advice after amputation

30th March 2009

Construction worker seeks personal injury advice after amputation

A construction worker asked for our specialist personal injury advice after he needed his leg amputated below the knee following a completely avoidable construction site accident at work.

Although the construction site management initially denied liability, we were able to secure £335,000 in accident at work compensation for our client.

Unsafe construction site working practices

Like all building sites, the owners and operators have a duty of care to ensure the safety of not only their construction employees but all visitors to the site.

Naturally, in this case the construction management were also anxious to ensure that all areas of the building site were secure when unattended and had implemented a system of securing the construction site at the end of any shift.

Our client’s responsibility was to secure several gates and doors to the area of the building site where the construction accident occurred, and then exit that area via a ladder. He always did this alone. Despite there being safer means of access available, our client was directed to use the ladder only.

Although the ladder was secured top and bottom, its position rendered it liable to become wet or muddy both from open exposure to the elements, and from the mud on the boots of other users of the ladder during the day, of which there were many. In addition, the bottom of the ladder was stood in 6 inches of rainwater.

The construction site management had made no attempt to alter the procedures, or to minimise the obvious risks to their employees.

Injuries caused by the accident at work

On the day of the accident at work, our client had completed his locking-up routine as normal and was leaving the area via the ladder. He was several metres from the bottom of the ladder when he slipped and he fell backwards, landing heavily on the concrete floor and in a 6 inch deep pool of water that had gathered at the foot of the ladder.

He immediately realised something was very wrong as he was in extreme agony and his ankle was at an unnatural angle. He was alone and in darkness, as everyone else had gone home for the night. He had to suffer prolonged pain and anxiety until, after some time, a passing member of the public heard his shouts and summoned the police.

Recovering from his injuries at work

Within the first few days following this accident at work, our client underwent major operations under general anaesthetic to repair serious fractures to his leg and ankle.

However, during the following 18 months of his recovery, he was forced to undergo many more operations, also under general anaesthetic, until the doctors, concerned that the injury was seriously infected, eventually decided that the only course of action was amputation below the knee. The alternative was a high risk of the infection spreading and endangering our client’s life.

Our client is coming to terms with his ongoing disability but it can prove painful for long periods. As part of his compensation we were able to obtain high-specification prosthetics for him to use, plus the future costs of maintaining and replacing them.

As a result of his ongoing disability we arranged for our client’s home to be assessed by a professional care consultant and an architect, and the property was considered to be unsuitable for him to continue to live in. We therefore successfully made a claim for the cost of our client purchasing a more suitable property, and for the cost of moving house.

Our client also suffered serious psychiatric injury (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of his ordeal, which will remain with him for life. We successfully claimed for the cost of counselling treatment as part of his claim.

The effects on our client’s life have been drastic, bringing to an end many of his hobbies such as gardening, as well as preventing his return to work. Given the physical nature of the work that he has undertaken throughout his adult life, it is unlikely that he will be able to carry out similar work in the future.

Since the construction site accident, he and his wife have recovered some mobility, having purchased a car adapted for his disability. However, he is reluctant to drive on his own as the circumstances of the workplace accident have made him nervous of being alone in unknown territory.

Breaches of workplace regulations

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations are in place to provide employees with a framework under which management must ensure their safety. Employers have a duty of care under these regulations to provide a safe place of work, a safe system of work and many other areas of the working environment and procedures.

The circumstances of our client’s injuries at work were the result of the management’s failure to meet the requirements of those regulations. They had established a means of entry and exit which was obviously dangerous.

In addition, there are strict guidelines regarding the safety of lone workers. In the situation at this construction site, there should have been two persons attending during the lock-up procedure given the areas remoteness and poor access. Even had the accident at work still occurred, had there been two persons, this would have avoided the additional trauma of our client being on his own for some considerable time before he was able to attract attention and help was summoned.

The day following this accident at work, not only was the procedure changed to enforce the instruction that two persons should undertake these duties, but the need to exit via the ladder was also removed by making a staircase accessible even when the doors had been secured.

Both of these solutions had been available before our client suffered his injuries at work, and given that management had knowledge of these risks, clearly this serious accident at work was completely avoidable.

Making a personal injury compensation claim

Our specialist personal injury solicitors, who have vast experience and in-depth knowledge of fighting for compensation following serious accidents at work, were forced to issue court proceedings when the defendant refused to accept liability for our client’s serious injuries.

However, before the trial, our solicitors were able to negotiate acceptable injury at work compensation and our client received 100% of the compensation awarded, which was £335,000.

Compensation claims for accidents at work

If you or a family member has suffered an accident at work, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete our online compensation claim forms and one of our representatives will contact you as soon as possible.

Our advisers will be happy to talk you through the injury at work claims process, in plain English. They will provide you with expert legal advice to answer any questions you may have regarding your accident claim.

Clear Answers’ lawyers are specialists in all types of injuries at work. We have teams of experts waiting to help you, should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your claim.

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