Retail Worker Awarded Compensation for Back Injury

Author:
Gulderen Salih
Associate Chartered Legal Executive
Date:
25/01/2022

We helped a retail worker receive £50,000 in compensation after an accident at work led to chronic back pain, mental health problems and a loss of earnings.

Matt was working behind the tills for a large clothing retailer. He’d only just come back to work after a motorcycle accident left him with a back injury.

At work he had just run out of paper carrier bags on his till and his manager went to the storeroom to collect a pallet full of paper bags.

He threw one of these packs at Matt, expecting him to catch it, but Matt was busy sorting out an issue with his till and didn’t see the pack of paper bags until it hit him in the chest.

Matt tried to stop himself falling by reached out his hand - his body twisted and he immediately felt a ‘pop’ in his back and a burning sensation in his right hip.

He was in agony, so he was sent him home immediately and Matt made an appointment with his GP the next day, who put him on a course of pain relief for four days.

After about a month, Matt was still in serious pain and was suffering from a weakness in his right leg which meant he was struggling to work. He went back to his GP for more painkillers and to get officially signed off work.

After another month of intense back pain, his doctor finally referred him to hospital. The hospital sent Matt to a physiotherapist, and returned to work again, on light duties, two months later.

But three months later, and eight months after the accident, Matt was still struggling.

His back pain was worse and he couldn’t perform his normal duties at work. He could only manage to work 20 hours a week when he was working 37 hours before the accident. His personal life had also deteriorated: he couldn’t take his kids to school or look after them properly. He couldn’t socialise with friends due to the pain he was in, and he couldn’t help his wife out around the house like he normally would.

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How We Helped Matt

Gulderen Salih, one of our Accident at Work lawyers, talked to Matt about the accident and he was examined by a number of medical experts to understand the seriousness of his injuries.

Matt’s previous motorbike accident had damaged the soft tissue in the lower part of Matt’s back.

And, whilst he’d been given treatment, the injury left him vulnerable to future back injuries and pain. So, when he’d twisted his body to stop himself from falling, he’d aggravated the same back injury, making it ten times worse.

The nerves at the bottom of his spine were also trapped which was giving him this numbness and weakness in his right leg.

Following his medical examination, our team of doctors prescribed Matt steroids, physiotherapy, joint injections and TENS treatment, which would send electric currents into Matt’s nerves to help relieve pain. They advised him that it could take up to five years to make a full recovery from such a serious back injury.

The injury and months of being unable to work or live his normal life had left Matt feeling anxious, and understandably, fed up. He thought his life wasn’t worth living and he was suffering from feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem at work.

Gulderen dug a little deeper into this and discovered that, due to the accident, Matt had missed out on a promotion at work.

Before the accident, he’d been interviewed for a new Department Manager position. He was told that there was only one other applicant and that the job was as good as his. When he came back to work after his sick leave, he discovered that his application had been rejected. The other applicant had been given the job and, to add insult to injury, Matt was then asked to train up the new Department Manager.

If Matt had been given this promised promotion, he’d have secured an above-average pay rise which would have made a significant difference to his and his family’s lives. Because he could only work 20 hours a week, the reduced hours meant he was earning less than normal and he wouldn’t be in a position to apply for another promotion anytime soon.

On top of all that, Matt was also unable to help around the house and look after his kids. Things like taking his kids to school or the park had to be picked up by his Mum, and the heavier tasks around the house and garden had to be done by his wife and neighbour. He couldn’t do anything that involved bending over, lifting, or carrying.

Understandably the significant loss of earnings, lack of promotion and not being able to look after his kids and wife significantly harmed Matt’s mental health and self-esteem, and it was established that he needed psychiatric support to help get him through.

With a loss of earnings and his family and friends having to pick up the day-to-day jobs around the home, Matt also had to find a way to attend his various mental and physical medical appointments. The only way he could do this was by public transport. This cost was enormous due to the number of appointments he had to attend.

The Outcome for Matt

After thoroughly investigating the case, Gulderen presented his lost earnings, and his missed promotion in his claim.

She also included the costs of Matt’s treatment, the care that his family and friends had had to give him, and the public transport to and from his medical appointments.

Fortunately, the clothing retailer that Matt worked for admitted full responsibility for the accident, his subsequent back pain, loss of earnings and declining mental health.

Matt was delighted with his £50,000 in compensation to help him pay for his future back treatment, sort out his mental health problems and get him back on track and enjoying life again.

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