DVT postal worker wins back injury claim following CWU instruction


Back Injury ClaimsA London postal worker already suffering from DVT has been awarded £10,500 damages following a back injury at work.

The worker sustained soft tissue injuries to her back after lifting an overweight postal bag. With liability eventually admitted by Royal Mail, a personal injury compensation award was set of £10,500.

Our client was delivering a direct silver bag dispatched from China to an address in London W1. These bags normally arrive via York Container, are sealed and cannot be separated. There is also no system of weighing or supervising the individual bags.

In her attempt to carry up some stairs a heavy mailbag, which was later reckoned to weigh at least 20kgs, our client hurt her back. Hoping it was merely a strain, she continued with her delivery duties, dragging the bag to Portland Place since it was too heavy to lift.

A little later, as she delivered mail to another address at Park Crescent, our client suffered back spasms. After she had managed with some effort to return to her van, an assistant completed the delivery.

In considerable pain, our client returned to the Royal Mail depot, where her accident was reported to her manager and an ambulance was called.

It transpired that the worker had previously suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT); a clotting of the blood which can be brought on by trauma, with potentially fatal consequences.

Instructed by the Communications Workers' Union to pursue a compensation claim on behalf of their member, we took expert advice. An expert haematologist was able to confirm that the worker had sustained a new bout of DVT that was directly attributable to her accident.

The claim was based on the defendant's failure to avoid the need for our client to undertake manual handling that involved the possibility she might be injured. Her employer had not made a sufficient assessment of the operation, and had neglected to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury.

These breaches in duty of care, along with 7 more counts under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, led to an eventual settlement for our client of £10,500 in relation to her accident whilst on duty at work.

Although she returned to work on light duties, the worker has on-going symptoms and has been referred by her employer for physiotherapy.

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