Psychological Trauma "as bad as Physical" for this Postman


A Kent postal worker has been awarded damages following a severe accident at work which left him psychologically frail for a long time after.

Van Reversed – and Didn't Stop

On 26 August 2011 the postal worker was walking across the yard at the delivery office, when he was hit by a reversing Royal Mail van.

Evidently the driver had been unaware of the situation as after he knocked the postman to the ground, his vehicle continued to reverse over the victim's legs.

Postman accident at work injury compensation

Psychological Pain

The postman suffered crushing soft tissue injuries to both his legs. Yet although some of his wounds became infected, his main problems proved to be psychological.

He became very withdrawn, developing a specific anxiety related to walking close to vehicles, particularly in car parks or at petrol stations. Clearly suffering from the psychological effects of the accident, he found difficulty in dealing with anything that reminded him of it.

Profound Distress

"The accident had a profound effect upon our client, that went deeper than the thankfully minor injuries he had sustained," Simpson Millar LLP's Carley-Anne Hurley said, following instruction from the CWU.

Carley-Anne added that he was first examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who recommended a clinical psychologist due to the non-physical nature of his injuries.

Peace of Mind

"When the psychologist suggested Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment, our client became concerned about the costs, particularly since he had lost earnings by being forced off work.

"However, we were able to get the defendant to agree to the funding before the treatment commenced, which put his mind at rest."

We wrote to Royal Mail alleging that it was responsible for his injuries, citing failure to ensure the competency of co-workers and failure to organise the workplace in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate safely.

Carley-Anne noted that Royal Mail at first offered £2,473.71 to settle the entire claim. "After negotiation, we reached settlement in the sum of £3,565 plus £1,585 in respect of our client's treatment costs.

Client was Delighted

"I found Carley-Anne to be very helpful in explaining the steps in the claim," a delighted client said after the settlement.

"She also listened to my many problems relating to the accidents and sent me for the appropriate medical treatment, for which I'm very grateful. The claim took a long time but we got there in the end.

"They Ground me Down"

"Royal Mail did their best to grind me down and have still not taken any action to stop this happening again at the worksite. So I would say: make a claim and be very patient. Royal Mail need to take more responsibility with health and safety, and not make it up as they go along."

"The case illustrates how psychological injuries can be every bit as debilitating as a physical injury," Carley-Anne concluded. "But it also shows that with the right help and treatment, steps can be taken to aid recovery."

Top Tips to Take Away:

  • Injuries at work aren't always purely physical
  • Yet psychological hurt can be every bit as unpleasant as cuts and fractures

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