Seven-figure settlement achieved for amputee injured at work

Moore Barlow represented a client who was hit by a heavy loader whilst at work. We worked to ensure our client’s needs, both physical and mental, were recognised and that appropriate compensation was awarded.

Background to the accident

On the 14 December 2018 our client (BD) had been carrying out their usual day-to-day tasks as a HGV driver. He was at a depot waiting for his HGV to be loaded when he crossed the yard to speak to one of his colleagues. As he was walking across the yard, a heavy loader was reversing around the corner. Despite my client’s bests effort to get out of the way, was hit by the loader and the loader reversed over him. A result of the collision, BD sustained serious, life-threatening injuries.

Due to the major trauma sustained, BD was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London by air ambulance where he received lifesaving treatment. Unfortunately, the surgeons were unable to save his left leg and therefore, he underwent an above knee amputation. He also sustained a degloving injury to his elbow and other serious internal injuries. Due to the reduced oxygen supply caused by initial blood loss from the leg injury, rib fractures causing decreased ventilation and myocardial infarction, the claimant suffered anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy which resulted in the total loss of vision in one eye and partial loss of vision in the other.

Ongoing hospital admissions and rehabilitation

Within days of being instructed, we were able to make contact with the Defendant insurers and agreed to act in accordance with the Rehabilitation Code. A Case Manager was appointed to assist with the client’s rehabilitation, most importantly, the discharge process.

BD, who was 67 at the time of the accident, remained an inpatient at St George’s for a considerable amount of time before he was transferred to Queen Mary’s in Roehampton to begin his amputee rehabilitation. Unfortunately, due to the severity of his injuries, he was not deemed suitable for the process of amputee rehabilitation at that time. As he was not suitable for a prosthetic rehabilitation at the time, private rehabilitation focussed on getting him ready for a second stint at Queen Mary’s and the therapies included physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as minor housing adaptations.

BD was incredibly stoic and gave it his best effort in trying to build up his upper body strength and strength in his residual limb however, the biggest obstacle was the loss of vision. Despite his absolute best efforts, following a second inpatient stay at Queen Mary’s that they once again deemed him unsuitable as a prosthetic user and he was discharged on the belief that he was likely to be reliant on a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Determined to not be deterred by this, BD continued his privately funded rehabilitation and he underwent an assessment at ProActive Prosthetics in Godalming. They felt that even with his limited vision, he should be able to use some form of prosthetic limb and funding was agreed for him to undergo private prosthetic rehabilitation with the input of both ProActive Prosthetics and Remedy.

As a result of the hard work of BD and the team around him, I’m pleased to say that he is now able to use the prosthetic limb in and around the home. His tolerance of the limb is limited, however, being a prosthetic user has made a significant impact and this includes the simple things such as him being able to stand from time to time. He is also working on being able to negotiate a few steps which is real achievement.

The claim and result

In relation to the claim, liability was never formally admitted by the Defendant company, however, the Defendant company was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive and the Director of the company was given a suspended sentence with a curfew and the company was fined a significant sum for its failings which resulted in the incident.

Medical evidence was obtained in the fields of orthopaedics, amputee rehabilitation, plastic surgery, accommodation, care and occupational therapy, prosthetics and ophthalmology and negotiations ensued. The Defendants were contending because of the incident (and some pre-existing ailments), BD’s life expectancy have reduced significantly and therefore, this would impact on the total value of the settlement.

The claim eventually settled for a seven-figure sum and the settlement will enable BD and his wife to purchase and move into a suitably adapted property where they can spend the rest of their lives enjoying each other’s company. BD will be able to continue his rehabilitation and will hopefully enable him to continue progressing using his prosthetic limb.

We were really pleased to be able to support BD and his family through this difficult and traumatic period but as ever, it is a shame we had to get involved at all. Accidents at work remain very common and when you have a large vehicle involved such as a heavy loader, any incidents involving this type of machinery are likely to be significant, life changing and even in some cases, fatal.

How Moore Barlow can help

If you’ve been involved in an injury in out outside of work that wasn’t your fault, please contact our expert team of personal injury lawyers.