Personal Injury

Compensation for worker who suffered severe ankle sprain and was unable to work for three months

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Mobeena Salim

Senior Solicitor

5 min read time
25 May 2023

A forklift truck driver has been awarded compensation to cover his loss of earnings after suffering an injury at work.

The 54-year-old man had been working for a steel fabrication business when the accident happened in March 2022.

He suffered severe tissue damage when twisting his ankle as he stepped out of his truck, as he didn’t see a wooden ‘skid’ platform – used to carry steel on forklifts – which had been left out of place in the yard.

The ‘skid’ had had become submerged by rainwater in the flooded yard, which the man said often happened due to poor drainage at the site.

The injury caused him to miss three months of work, during which time he was on reduced income and only receiving statutory sick pay.

He attempted to return to work on three separate occasions, but his ankle wasn’t strong enough for the demands of the job and he was in too much pain.

“A sprain doesn’t sound like a bad injury, and when it happened I thought I’d be fully recovered and back at work in a matter of weeks, but it took more than a year to feel fully back to normal,” said the man.

“I was desperate to go back to work, but each time I tried I just couldn’t do it. The sprain was severe, and I was told that I’d damaged the muscle memory, and that in many ways, a break would possibly have healed quicker.

“The pain was so severe, and every time I thought it was getting better, I’d try and work on it and was just not be able to. I was observed by managers and they just told me to stop trying to return to work until it was right.

“It was really frustrating. In the end we agreed to part ways, and it was when that happened that somebody said to be that I’d not been greatly looked after, and that I should consider making a legal claim.”

Liability admitted without need to go to court

The man contacted Hudgell Solicitors’ team of personal injury lawyers and accidents at work specialists, and was represented in a personal injury claim by specialist Mobeena Salim.

She submitted a claim to his employer, alleging the steel fabrication business had breached its duty of care under workplace health and safety regulations by failing to ensure staff were working in safe conditions.

She highlighted a failure to ensure safe ways of working, given employees were expected continue their duties in a flooded yard, and how the skid had been left in a place where it shouldn’t have been, indicating a lack of training and understanding of processes required to ensure safety.

Liability was admitted by the man’s employers and a £8,500 settlement, compensating him for his injury and loss of earnings, was agreed without the need to go to court.

“I’m really pleased with the settlement Mobeena negotiated for me as it has certainly covered the money I lost when I was off work and only on sick pay,” he said.

“I didn’t even think about taking legal action at first, but when somebody pointed out how much money I’d lost, through no fault of my own, it made sense to seek compensation. I’d had to dip into my savings and in these times, nobody can afford to lose much needed income.

“Mobeena was really supportive all the way through and she said from the outset that she felt I would be awarded damages. The company admitted liability immediately, so I think that shows they knew they’d been in the wrong.

“To be honest, the yard was poorly managed and maintained and that was something I was trying to help improve.  The skids should be returned to a safe area once all the steel has been taken off them, and not left on the yard floor.

“The yard often flooded because of the rain also and we just carried on working to meet production demands. Hopefully things have changed now.

“I’ve now found new employment, and they are aware of my accident and how it impacted on me. I’m pretty much fully recovered, but it certainly took more than a year, and lots of physio, to get back to how I am now.”

Employers left staff at risk of injury

Mrs Salim said the accident was ‘completely avoidable’ had the business followed workplace and health and safety regulations.

“There were two main contributory factors in this accident happening. Firstly, our client was left at risk of harm by being expected to work in a yard which had become flooded. Work should have been stopped until the flood water had cleared,” she said.

“Secondly, the skid being left in a dangerous place indicated a lack of training, or supervision to ensure safety procedures were followed by all members of staff.

“Employers are liable for the safety of, and also actions of those they employ, and none of these two events should have happened on that day. We were pleased to secure a good settlement for our client.”

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.

Read more: Accidents & Injury at Work Compensation Claims

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Compensation for worker who suffered severe ankle sprain and was unable to work for three months

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