Personal Injury

£18,500 compensation for worker who suffered accident at work back injury in fall at caravan manufacturer

man with back injury as a result of an accident at work

Rebecca Cone

Senior Litigation Executive

5 min read time

A worker has been awarded £18,500 in damages in an out of court settlement after suffering a back injury in an accident at work fall whilst working for an East Yorkshire caravan manufacturer.

Andrew Melton was carrying out his duties as a ‘snagger’ at Swift Caravans, in Cottingham, when he suffered the injury.

As he was leaving a caravan on the production line, a set of plastic steps slipped away and caused him to fall backwards, hitting his back on the doorframe.

He suffered four fractures to the transverse process, part of the back where muscles and ligaments attach to the spinal vertebrae. He never returned to work and took redundancy as he was not physically able to return to his job.

Today, more than three years later, he continues to suffer with back problems and has daily pains and difficulty sleeping.

Legal claim highlighted lack of grip on steps and previous incidents

As part of a legal claim, led by our accidents at work specialists at Hudgell Solicitors, it was alleged the accident, in July 2019, had been foreseeable due to the steps being unsuitable.

It was alleged they lacked sufficient gripping to hold them securely in position on the floor, and on the top surface where workers stepped onto them when getting in and out of caravans.

During the legal case it was also disclosed that there had been five other incidents reported involving use of the steps between March and May of that year.

Mr Melton, who was 60 at the time of the accident, said he was disappointed with his employer’s response to the incident, given that they made no formal admission of fault for either his fall or injuries. Their out of court settlement reflected this position.

“I knew it was serious when it happened but, in my opinion, there was very little aftercare shown, and in fact they tried to suggest in their statements that I’d said that I was to blame myself for it happening. That was not the case at all,” he said.

“It transpired that a number of other people had also had incidents involving the steps in the months previous, so it was an issue that was not dealt with.

“The problem is, in factories where there is a busy and demanding production line, everything is done at 100 miles an hour, and things like this are just overlooked. If I’d been fortunate and got back up without any injuries, I’m sure the same sets of stairs would have continued to have been used.”

Mr Melton says he continues to suffer back pains daily, “I struggle sleeping, I suffer from muscle spasms and my right leg is constantly numb. I also get tingling, like an electric shock, in the back of my neck,” he said.

“It affects me in many ways. I can’t really play with the grandkids anymore, I can’t go fishing like I used to and I miss being able to work.”

Case highlights need to ensure safe equipment used at all times

Experienced claim handler Rebecca Cone, a specialist in accident at work claims at Hudgell Solicitors, led the case on behalf of Mr Melton and says a lack of grip on steps meant there was a ‘foreseeable risk of injury’ which should have been noted and addressed.

“This is a classic example of failure to maintain equipment,” she said. “We see this often, where equipment is used day in, day out, but is not sufficiently checked and maintained.

“It may seem in some way trivial, but the very purpose of these sets of steps is to ensure workers can step on and off caravans, as they do so many times, each day, in a safe manner. Their sturdiness and stability on the floor was paramount.

“An employee wouldn’t be handed a set of new work boots without any grips on them, so the same goes for sets of steps which are used throughout the day.

“The result for our client was a significant injury which needed hospital treatment, led to a significant period of time off work, and has led to early retirement.”

The damages claim sought injury at work compensation for loss of earnings, loss of pension, and to recompense for care and assistance provided by family members.

“Luckily we had some savings set by so the period during which I was out of work was manageable, but of course it’s never easy to lose an income,” added Mr Melton, now 63, of Hull.

“Rebecca has been brilliant and helped make the process as straight forward as possible. The money has gone into a trust for the future.”

What Are Accidents at Work?

An accident or injury in the workplace could be anything where you’ve suffered physically at work. You may have fallen or slipped in an office, suffered an injury from falling debris on a worksite, or sustained a back injury at work through manual handling that could have been avoided.

Whether you’ve had a major or minor accident at work, claiming compensation for a work-related injury can help you get your life back on track by reimbursing you for lost earnings and expenses because of your injury.

We know how stressful and traumatic an injury at work can be. Our expert injury at work solicitors are here to support and guide you through the process and ensure that they fully understand your circumstances so they can help to get you the accident at work compensation you deserve.

Read more: Accidents and Injury at Work Compensation Claims

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