£1.9m awarded for leg lost in building site accident

Compensation of £1.9m was awarded in 2013 to a 38 year-old man for severe leg injuries resulting in an above the knee amputation after an accident on a building site four years earlier.

Injury details

The Claimant was working on a building site at the time of the accident. He was asked to operate a telescopic handler under supervision. He lifted a heavy load at full extension so it was hanging in the air. As he moved the telescopic handler, it fell over and crushed his left leg.

His injuries were severe. He suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibia. The tibial plateau was damage causing injury to his knee joint.

Treatment included 13 separate surgical procedures which were not successful in saving the leg. Amputation above the knee was necessary.

The Claimant suffered complications. Further surgery was required to provide him with an osseointegrated prosthesis. The procedure involved attaching a titanium implant to his bone which a prosthetic leg then attached to.

The surgery was only available in Sweden. He required several visits for the operation and his follow up care.

The Claimant suffered clawing of the toes on his right foot. He suffered severe phantom limb pain where his left leg had been. Using crutches caused him shoulder pain. His uneven gait caused ongoing back pain.

He developed psychological symptoms. He suffered major depression and anxiety. He required psychological treatment and support.

The man needed ongoing care which would increase as he got older. He required multiple medications for pain and depression. He suffered night sweats and needed to change clothes and/or bedsheets sometimes as often as three times a night.

He was unable to return to his career. He required special housing, aids and equipment. He would need ongoing therapies and treatment.

Allegation

It was alleged the Defendant was negligent insofar as they failed to provide a suitable machine in the limited space available.

The Claimant had not been suitably qualified to use the telescopic handler.

The Defendant breached the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 reg.4(2), 4(3), 8(1), 9(1) and 20, and the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 reg.3(1) and 4.

The Defendant maintained that the Claimant had been at least partially responsible for his injuries through failing to use the equipment competently.

Conclusion and settlement

Lliability was agreed on a split 65/35 basis and the matter did not proceed to a Court hearing.

The Claimant was found to have contributed to his injuries. The Defendant was primarily at fault.

Compensation of £1,995,500 was accepted by way of an out of Court settlement.

£91,000 was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

Past and future care costs were agreed in the sum of £416,000.

£234,000 was accepted for loss of earnings.

Medical costs of £224,250 were awarded.

£156,000 by way of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and future aids and equipment costs was agreed.

Future prosthetic cost in the sum of £227,500 was awarded.

Accommodation expenses of £497,250 were accepted.

£120,250 of travel costs was awarded.

Future holiday and DIY costs were accepted at £29,250.