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£300,000 damages for man who had leg amputated after work accident



Hudgell Solicitors secured damages of £300,000 for man who broke his ankle in two places during a fall at work and later had to have his leg amputated.

Harold Willbye was just three days into his job at a Hampshire-based demolition firm when he suffered breaks to the two main bones in his left ankle after his foot became trapped under a speaker which had fallen.

Colleagues at the firm drove him to hospital where he needed surgery to insert metal pins and plates to try and heal the break, but he was left unable to walk and spent months in a wheelchair as his bones failed to heal.

He later needed a stent inserting into his groin to help blood flow to the affected area following a blockage, but despite doctors’ best efforts, he eventually had to have his leg amputated below the knee nine months after the accident.

Having taken legal action through Hudgell Solicitors, the six-figure settlement was offered via the company’s insurers, on the basis that they took two-thirds of the responsibility for the accident.

It was alleged in the claim that the firm had failed to provide a safe place of work, failed to adopt a safe system of work and failed to risk assess or adequately risk assess the working practice, exposing their employee to ‘a foreseeable risk of personal injury.’

Despite the huge impact it has had on his life, Mr Willbye says he is determined to look forward with positivity.

He said: “It’s changed my life completely, but I don’t want to look back at the accident. I want to look forward. I have accepted it and I have to get on with it. What choice do I have?”

“When the accident happened, I was just in so much pain. I remember my colleagues picking me up and taking me to the hospital. Then, when I was in the wheelchair I couldn’t put any weight on my ankle.

“When it eventually came to losing my leg, I knew what the doctor was going to say before he said it as it just wouldn’t heal, but after he left, I broke down. Even though I knew what was coming, nothing can prepare you for hearing something like that.

“I was in three different hospitals during my care though and I met two soldiers who had returned from war zones. We got on so well and it put everything into perspective. They helped me to cope, along with my wife, Sue.”

The damages settlement was agreed and reflected the cost of prostheses, modifications required in his home, the care he has required since the accident and will require in the future care, earnings provisions, travel allowance and the cost of an automatic vehicle.

As part of the legal claim his employer’s insurers arranged an immediate needs assessment, which meant he received physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and psychological treatment to assist his recovery before the case was settled.

Mr Willbye, now 58, of Hampshire, will now have to take medication for the rest of his life, but has since taken a part-time job as a cleaner in a nursing home. He recently married and enjoyed his first holiday abroad to Majorca.

Sarah Morton, the solicitor who represented Mr Willbye in the case, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This accident had a huge impact on Mr Willbye on so many levels and his life has changed significantly since.

“Following this accident his lower leg never recovered as he already had some circulation and blood pressure issues, and he then had to have it amputated. This obviously caused considerable pain and distress and has had a life-changing impact.

“Through all of this Mr Willbye has dealt with what happened to him very well and has not let it hold him back. He has been determined to remain positive and has even found work he is able to cope with and is moving on.

“We were pleased that our representation meant that insurers arranged rehabilitation support early, helping our client to move forward as quickly as possible. We also hope the final settlement goes some way to compensating for the suffering he has endured and the difficulties he faces.”

Mr Willbye said the legal support of Hudgell Solicitors had been crucial to him staying positive through very difficult times.

“They have been fantastic and I’m really pleased with the outcome. If I called them for anything at any point, they always had time to speak to me, or they called me straight back.”

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31/05/2017 No Comments

More than a quarter of workers feel employers are failing to maintain high health and safety standards

Cutting flagstone


New research suggests more than a quarter of employees in the UK feel their bosses are failing to maintain high standards of health and safety in the workplace – leaving them at an increased danger of suffering an injury.

Despite health and safety being blamed for creating a ‘nanny state’ in some quarters – seven in 10 UK workers say they recognise its importance to protect their health, and that of their work colleagues.

Four in 10 people surveyed said they knew of someone who had been injured in an accident at work, with it is estimated that a total of around 611,000 injuries occurred in UK workplaces in 2014/15.

Of those, 142 people were killed whilst doing their jobs.

Now, according to those questioned in a recent survey for legal specialists Hudgell Solicitors, employees at many firms feel not enough is being done to make them feel that their health and well-being is a priority.

The research showed;

  • More than a quarter of workers feel their employers fail to meet high Health and Safety Standards
  • 4 in 10 people know of someone who has been injured in an accident at work
  • Almost half would worry about the repercussions of taking legal action against their employers should they suffer an accident at work (45.8%)
  • 84% of people don’t realise claims for loss and injury can be made up to three years after accidents at work – even if they have long left the company responsible.

‘Staff are taking risks – and employers are letting them’

Matt Tuff, a specialist in handling compensation claims for people injured in an accident at work at Hudgell Solicitors, says the research suggests many workers employees feel unable to voice their concerns should their working practices not meet Health and Safety requirements, leaving them taking risks.

“It is a situation we see all too often. Employers expect their staff to go to extra lengths to get the job done, at times using equipment which hasn’t been properly maintained or checked, or on which the worker hasn’t been specifically trained. People come and go at businesses, and sometimes these things are overlooked over time,” said Mr Tuff.

“We see many situations where staff take risks simply to get the job done, risking injury to themselves. That could be by working without the relevant safety equipment, or by using tools which are known to be faulty.

“On other occasions, health and safety regulations will be breached on a daily basis, often with staff saying it has ‘always been done that way.

“These situations can simply be missed by people in positions of seniority, or even ignored.”

Mr Tuff says he has not been surprised by those who were surveyed saying they may be reluctant to pursue legal action against their employers due to fear of repercussions, something he hears as the primary concern from many who contact him for advice after injury.

“The simple fact is that an employer has a responsibility to its staff to ensure their safety at all times, and injuries suffered can have a long-term impact on an individual’s health, and their family life if they are unable to work and earn for a significant amount of time,” Mr Tuff added.

“We know some people fear possible repercussions, but companies have to do all they can to protect their staff from injury or illness. They have liability insurance and, for the most part, an accident at work is likely to be covered by their policy.

“We have had many cases where companies have fully accepted their responsibilities, compensated their employee, made changes to working practices as a result of the legal case, and the employee has then continued to work for the same company into the future.”

Factory worker left unable to work after injury awarded £100,000 damages

David Warburton

Factory worker David Warburton, 49, found himself out of work after being left unable to use his left hand following an accident at Warrington-based Avdel Metal Finishing, where his hand became trapped in machinery.

The accident happened when Mr Warburton was called to help by his junior colleague as a furnace machine he was operating, but had not been trained in using, had jammed.

Mr Warburton said it was common practice for either he or the shift manager to repair machine faults if no fitters were available, despite not having had any training in machinery repair. He suffered a severed nerve and tendon in his index finger, and a ruptured tendon in his middle finger.

As part of the legal case, it was claimed the company had been negligent and in breach of its duty of care by failing to ensure equipment was suitable for purpose. It also faced allegations of failing to ensure work equipment was maintained and inspected at regular intervals, and failing to ensure all people who used work equipment had received adequate training.

Mr Warburton received damages of £100,000 to reflect his pain and suffering, and loss of earnings into the future, after being represented by Hudgell Solicitors.

Mr Tuff added: “Accidents at work have a major impact on the lives of many people we represent. It can be a major worry to find yourself unable to work and earn for your family, and that can place a lot of pressure on family life.

“We are passionate about ensuring people injured at work, through no fault of their own, aren’t left on the scrapheap or made to be the scapegoat.

“They deserve our support and legal expertise, and the best outcome is us securing them full compensation for their loss and suffering, and our legal case resulting in standards of health and safety being improved at the company involved.

“Hopefully, this research helps to highlight that many employers still have some way to go when it comes to protecting their employees from injury.”

At Hudgell Solicitors, we handle all cases on a ‘no win no fee basis’, so there is no financial risk to you when making a claim. We pride ourselves on cutting through the legal jargon to give you regular updates in plain English, so you can be assured of a hassle-free process, in which you truly understand your rights,

If you have suffered loss or injury following an accident at work, call our team today.

 

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13/06/2016 No Comments

Accidents at work – facts and figures

world health & safety day


In support of  World Day for Safety and Health at Work we have created an infographic highlighting the high number of accidents at work that are still happening across the UK.
Hudgell Solicitors are committed to raising awareness as well as helping to ensure that accidents at work are avoided in the future where possible. Whatever your working role, your employer should do all they can to assure your safety, and take the required measures and precautions to protect you from injury, or illness.

As specialists in personal injury compensation claims, our team at Hudgell Solicitors represent many people who suffer accidents in the workplace each year.

new-infographic (2)

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28/04/2016 No Comments

Workers bearing the financial brunt of health and safety in the workplace

work place injury England Map


In the UK, a total of 27.3 million working days were lost in the last 12 months due to work-place injuries. New figures from the Health and Safety Executive for 2014/15 also revealed work-related fatalities increased by nine compared with the previous year. A worrying statistic considering the annual reports had shown a downward trend in the amount of accidents, fatalities and illnesses in the last 5 years.

The Most Dangerous Industries to Work in

The total number of work related fatalities hit 142 last year. 50% of those deaths occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors alone.

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09/11/2015 No Comments

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