Rehabilitation for Man Exposed to Giant Hogweed at Work

Posted on: 2 mins read
Jonathan Thursby

Associate Solicitor, Personal Injury Claims

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Our client suffered with blisters and sensitivity to sunlight after being exposed to a toxic plant at work and needed specialist rehab to manage his symptoms.

Peter*, a man in his mid-30s, was working outdoors when he was asked to clear a section of undergrowth and given a strimmer.

While working, he was exposed to the sap of a Giant Hogweed, a toxic plant that can cause burns, blisters and many other health problems.

The morning after, Peter woke up with blisters on his face, chest, arms and hands, and he went to hospital to get them checked out.

He was told that his symptoms were probably caused by exposure to Giant Hogweed, and his doctor later advised him to keep out of direct sunlight and apply moisturiser to the affected areas.

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Intolerance to Sunlight

The exposure to Giant Hogweed left Peter with a severe sensitivity to sunlight, which meant it could trigger symptoms including:

    • Clammy and sweaty skin
    • Blistering
    • Burning to the skin and eyes
    • Itchy eyes
    • Respiratory problems
    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Altered vision

The symptoms had a severe impact on his life, as he struggled to engage with many normal day-to-day activities, and since natural sunlight triggered a reaction, he couldn’t return to work.

Employer Should Have Kept Him Safe

Peter called our expert Personal Injury Solicitors for a free claims assessment, as he felt his employer could have done more to keep him safe at work and stopped him from being exposed to the harmful plant.

I believed that Peter had a strong case for compensation and agreed to help him, so his care, rehabilitation and support needs could be met, particularly as he was now unable to work.

Thankfully, the employer admitted fault and accepted that no special measures had been put in place to keep Peter safe.

This meant we didn’t have to go to Court, and could instead focus on working out what specific care he needed, and agreeing a settlement that would meet these needs.

Specialist Support Provided

We arranged for Peter to see an occupational therapist and case manager, who assessed his condition to identify what care, support and rehabilitation he needed.

As part of his rehabilitation, it was suggested that he join a gym to regain his physical strength, but this wasn’t possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Home exercise equipment, specifically an exercise and rowing machine, was provided instead, so he could still work on building up his strength.

Peter’s home was also equipped with UV window film, which meant he didn’t have to keep his curtains closed at home, and he received protective clothing to improve his tolerance to sunlight.

What was the Outcome?

On the strength of the reports provided by his rehab provider, we managed to negotiate a compensation settlement of £40,000.

This reflected the pain and suffering he’d gone through, and the loss of income he’d experienced after losing his job.

The employer also agreed to pay for Peter’s rehabilitation on top of the £40,000 settlement.

*not his real name

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