Rehabilitation for Man Exposed to Giant Hogweed at Work

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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. Due to this, he needed specialist rehabilitation in order to manage his ongoing symptoms.

For the purposes of this article and to maintain client confidentiality, we will refer to our client as an alternative name, Peter, throughout. Peter is a man in his mid 30s who was working outdoors in the course of his employment when he was asked by his employer to clear a section of undergrowth. He was given a strimmer to undertake this task.

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

The morning after being exposed to the sap of a Giant Hogweed, Peter woke up with blisters  all over his body including on his face, chest, arms and hands. As such, he went to the Accident and Emergency Department at his local hospital to get them checked out.

When at the hospital, he was told that his symptoms were probably caused by exposure to Giant Hogweed. Due to this, his doctor later advised him to keep his skin out of direct sunlight and to apply moisturiser regularly to the affected areas.

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What Is Giant Hogweed?

 

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 that Peter experienced had a severe impact on his life, as he struggled to engage with many normal day to day activities. In addition to this,  since natural sunlight triggered a reaction to Peter’s skin, this meant that he couldn’t return to the work that he had previously been doing.

 

Employer Should Have Kept Him Safe

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

We listened to the circumstances of Peter’s case and how it had affected him in order to make an assessment on the prospects of success in his case. After doing so, we came to the conclusion that Peter had a strong case for compensation and agreed to help him. We hope that through obtaining compensation for Peter, he would have the funds so that his care, rehabilitation and support needs could be met, particularly as he was now unable to work.

Thankfully, the employer admitted fault after we presented the case to them. Peter’s employer accepted that no special measures had been put in place to keep him safe. By doing so, this meant that we didn’t have to go to Court and could instead focus on working out what specific care he needed going forward which would, in turn, allow us to agree a settlement that would meet these needs which were fairly extensive.

 

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. Both the occupational therapist and the case manager then prepared reports outlining their findings which we were able to present to the insurance company who were acting for Peter’s employer.

As part of his rehabilitation, it was suggested that he join a gym to regain his physical strength but unfortunately at the time this wasn’t possible due to restrictions imposed by the government due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK.

Instead, we arranged for home exercise equipment to be provided to Peter, specifically an exercise and rowing machine, so that he could still work on building up his strength, even while in lockdown.

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

 

What Was The Outcome?

On the strength of the reports provided by his rehabilitation provider, we managed to negotiate a compensation settlement on Peter’s behalf in the sum of £40,000.

This level of compensation reflected both the pain and suffering that he’d gone through in addition to the loss of income that he’d experienced after losing his job since he was unable to continue working in this field.

In addition to this, Peter’s former  employer also agreed to pay for his rehabilitation on top of the £40,000 settlement. All of the costs of the exercise equipment, home adaptions and specialist clothing were funded by his former employer too given that these were recommended in the specialist reports that we obtained.

If you have been affected by an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, whether or not it involved Giant Hogweed, please reach out to our friendly and helpful team of Personal Injury Solicitors who will do their very best to assist you. We can provide an initial no obligation claims assessment completely free of charge and, where possible, we can then pursue a claim of compensation for you if our team believe that you may have a reasonable prospect of success. We may even be able to pursue your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis – just ask us about this.

Here at Simpson Millar, we aim to offer you a range of open, clear and straightforward legal services with no hidden costs or surprises. Our solicitors will always give you straightforward legal advice in easy to understand language. We pride ourselves in being friendly and approachable, ensuring that we tailor our service to suit your individual needs and circumstances.

We’ve been providing legal help and support for more than 170 years now and we believe that we’re best placed to help you pursue a claim for compensation.

Our friendly team can be contacted by telephone on 0808 239 3227 or alternatively, you can request a call back by clicking here.

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Jonathan Thursby

Associate Solicitor, Personal Injury Claims

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Jonathan is an Associate Solicitor in our Serious Injury department, specialising in Employers’ Liability (accidents at work) and Public Liability (accidents in a public place) cases.

He prides himself on being approachable and sensitive to the needs of his clients, and he is also practical with strong attention to detail.

References

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). Contact Us. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/contact-us/ (Accessed: 16/12/2023).

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). Personal Injury Solicitors. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/personal-injury-solicitors/#form (Accessed: 16/12/2023).

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/personal-injury-solicitors/no-win-no-fee-personal-injury-solicitors/ (Accessed: 16/12/2023).

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/#form (Accessed: 16/12/2023).

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