Bricklayer Awarded £85,000 for Spinal Cord Injury after Falling from Scaffolding

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Eleanor Walker

Associate Personal Injury Solicitor, Serious Injuries

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Paul was a self-employed bricklayer, who was contracted by a construction company who provides building services. In this instance, Paul was working on a block of flats.

He was working with several other contractors on a new accommodation block when he had to climb up to the upper level of some external scaffolding to start work on the internal gables.

As he was doing this work, Paul stumbled backwards, but as the scaffolding was unguarded, he fell through to the next level, and his back struck a steel transom. This caused him to fall a further two metres through a further gap in the scaffolding and he landed on the ground.

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How the Spinal Injury Affected His Life

Paul sustained spinal injuries as a result of the fall, and couldn’t work for a year after the accident. The accident caused mobility problems, which was the reason he was out of work seeking recovery.

He had been determined to get back to work despite his pain, and he also tried returning on a part-time basis for around three months. But unfortunately, Paul’s pain that he was suffering with would flare up when he was trying to work, and he eventually had to stop working as he couldn’t cope.

Before the accident, Paul had a pre-existing back condition characterised by degenerative changes in his spine, leading to previous episodes of back pain. All of this had largely been resolved and been well under control, to the point where he hadn’t needed to see his GP to report any back problems in several years. But, this accident at work really set him back and caused him significant pain, which back tracked his career all over again.

Paul got in touch with our expert Personal Injury Solicitors for a free claims assessment to discuss claiming compensation. After listening to his story, we felt he had a strong claim for compensation, and we agreed to take on his case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

 

How We Helped Paul

We investigated what caused Paul’s building site accident and found that guard rails hadn’t been put up on the scaffolding in the area where he had to work. We also discovered that no air bags or netting had been put in place to minimise the risk of a fall from height, which breaches all of the workplace safety precautions that should be placed for employees.

We pursued a claim on his behalf against both the principal contractors on the building site who had subcontracted the employer our client was working for and also the scaffolding company who had put the scaffolding up.

Both firms denied responsibility for the accident and blamed each other, so we had to issue Court proceedings against them. The two companies continued denying responsibility, and also argued that Paul himself had been partly negligent.

Despite these problems, we fought on, as we strongly believed that both defendants were responsible for the accident. We obtained witness statements to support our claim and also arranged for Paul to be assessed by a spinal surgeon.

The spinal surgeon concluded that the accident had made Paul’s back condition worse and caused him to suffer an acute flare-up with symptoms which were much worse than he had previously experienced.

He accepted that it wasn’t suitable for our client to return to his manual role as a bricklayer, but felt that he would be capable of returning to a lighter, less manual job.

Using the evidence we had gathered, including the medical reports, we worked out how much compensation Paul should claim and started negotiating a compensation settlement with the other side.

The principal contractors made an initial offer to settle the claim for £25,000 in compensation, but we advised Paul to reject this, as we felt the offer was far too low.

 

What was the Outcome?

After further negotiations, both defendants agreed to settle, and Paul was awarded £85,000 in compensation, which will help him access the specialist support he needs to manage his back pain.

The amount of compensation the case settled for reflected the medical expert opinion that our client was already suffering from a long-standing back problem before his accident at work – and in turn, this compensation amount will help Paul get back on his feet whilst he searches for a non-manual job role.

 

How Simpson Millar Can Help you

Workplace accidents are more common than you would think. According to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 565,000 working people sustained an injury at work during 2021/2022, with 8% of them being a fall from a height, like in Paul’s case.

If you’ve had an accident at work and you were injured, our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors can help you.

We offer a free claims assessment with one of our Personal Injury Solicitors who can give you specialist legal advice and help you understand if you have a claim. Call us on 0808 239 4205, and let us help you.

 

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Eleanor Walker

Associate Personal Injury Solicitor, Serious Injuries

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Eleanor joined Simpson Millar in May 2018 with more than 10 years’ experience in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence work.

She specialises in employer’s, Public and Occupier’s Liability cases where people have suffered Serious Injuries and has handled a wide variety of cases from fast-track to catastrophic injury claims.

Eleanor always strives to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients. She provides empathy, clear legal advice and support throughout what can be a difficult process.

References

Health and Safety Executive (HSE). (n.d.). Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/

Simpson Millar. (n.d.). Accident at Work Compensation Claims. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/personal-injury-solicitors/accident-at-work-claims/

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