Personal Injury

Hull man ‘feared he was going to lose his foot’ after forklift accident at fishcake factory

Karl White had an accident at work

Sarah Kidd

Associate Solicitor and Manager of Fast Track Personal Injury Team

6 min read time
22 Jul 2021

A Hull man who “feared he was going to lose his foot” after being knocked over by a forklift truck says he has a “better quality of life now” after Hudgell Solicitors helped him make an accident at work claim.

Karl White, 34, suffered a serious injury at work when his foot became trapped under a 1.5-tonne forklift when it knocked him to the ground at a fishcake factory in West Hull.

He suffered multiple fractures to his right ankle, a fracture to his right elbow and psychological distress after the forklift truck accident.

He was on crutches for nine weeks and doctors told him he needed four months off work, but he returned after three months as he could not afford to be off work for that long.

As well as impacting him financially, Mr White, from East Hull, said his mental health was badly affected in the weeks after the accident at work – and he continues to feel anxious almost two years on from the forklift accident.

Mr White contacted our expert personal injury lawyers in the days following his injury and Hudgell Solicitors helped secure him a five-figure sum in damages.

“While I was out of work I got in thousands of pounds of debt and if I’d not got my compensation, I wouldn’t have been able to get myself out of it,” said Mr White.

“My mental health also went. I was used to getting up in the morning for work and going out for days in the car, but I was just sat there and after four weeks I was getting depressed. It got to me.

“I couldn’t wash myself because I’d hurt my right elbow and I was living downstairs for two weeks.

“But my family’s a lot happier now and I’ve got a better quality of life now.”

Client made accident at work compensation claim amid loss of earnings

Mr White made an accident at work compensation claim after suffering the injury in an incident at Three Oceans Fish Company on Witty Street, West Hull.

He was working for Taylors Recycling Services and had visited Three Oceans every day for six months to collect recycling waste.

However, on November 26, 2019, when making his usual visit on a rainy day just before 7am, he was fastening ratchet straps after pallets of cardboard had been loaded to his truck when a forklift reversed towards him and knocked him to the ground, resulting in his right foot becoming trapped.

“The thing is, I went to that site the same time every day with the same driver and we just had a routine, the same thing every day, but for some reason he just didn’t look behind and took me over,” added Mr White.

“I thought my foot had been run over at first, but when they reviewed CCTV it showed my ankle had got wedged between the ground and the bottom of the tonne-and-a-half forklift.

“When it has reversed and knocked me down, my foot has got stuck under it, my ankle has bent and he has heard me scream and then gone forward.

“Straight away I was shouting out in agony. I was just lying on the ground in the rain doing deep breathing. I haven’t experienced pain like that before.

“I heard my heel pop. With your heavy goods training you see videos of similar accidents on site and originally I thought my ankle bone had gone through my skin, I thought it was that bad.”

Client left feeling anxious in car parks after forklift accident

Mr White was taken by paramedics to Hull Royal Infirmary where it was discovered he had broken five bones in his right foot, as well as fracturing his right elbow.

His foot still “really bothers me” almost two years on, especially when walking for any length of time, while the accident at work left him anxious around forklifts, to the extent that he left that job in June 2020.

“Since then, if there were forklifts about I wouldn’t go anywhere near them. To this day, even if I’m in a supermarket car park and a car is reversing, I am well away from it,” he said.

“If I went back into an industry, I wouldn’t be comfortable around forklifts, I’d be anxious.”

Accident at work legal case against fish company

The legal case against Three Oceans alleged that the workplace accident happened as a result of failings by the fish company to ensure Mr White would be safe when visiting the premises. It also highlighted failures by the forklift truck driver.

Three Oceans confirmed liability for the accident at work. Sarah Kidd, Associate in Personal Injury at Hudgell Solicitors, who guided Mr White through the process of making a no win no fee accident at work claim, said: “Karl had visited that site every day to collect recycling waste.

“As was the usual procedure, a forklift driver was loading pallets of waste onto his wagon, whilst Karl stood on the back of the wagon to ensure that the ratchet straps did not become trapped.

“After each pallet was loaded onto the wagon, Karl would climb off the wagon and onto the ground to fasten the straps. This had been the procedure that had been in place since he started visiting the site in March 2019.

“However, while Karl was strapping one of the straps the forklift driver, without warning, reversed towards him and knocked him to the ground.

“The accident at work was a frightening and distressing event for Karl, who feared that he was going to lose his foot after it happened.

“As well as the physical injuries he suffered in the forklift accident, he was also left self-conscious about what he called the ‘ugly’ scarring on his right ankle, was left very depressed, had flashbacks about the incident, and is anxious around forklifts and reversing vehicles.”

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Hull man ‘feared he was going to lose his foot’ after forklift accident at fishcake factory

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