£4.5k awarded for conveyor belt crushed hand injury

Circumstances

The Claimant was cleaning a machine at the Defendants premises, as part of her duties. The machine unexpectedly started, trapping her right hand between rollers. It took sometime to extract the Claimant's hand from the machine during which time her injuries were made worse. Despite the valiant efforts of the Claimant's work colleagues additional injuries were cause to her shoulder and elbow.

Injuries and Progression

Despite the Claimant having extensive physiotherapy over a period of time she was left with permanent injuries. She had crush injuries to the fingers of her right hand, pain and discomfort to her elbow and shoulder. She did not suffer any fractures.

The Claimant attempted to return to work on three occasions before she was able to return full time. She first tried to go back to work after only 4 weeks but this simply proved too much for the Claimant. At 11 months post accident again she tried to return to work. This time she was on lighter duties to try ease her back into her job. Finally one year one month after her accident she was back at work on a full time basis.

Certain heavier tasks she could no longer do. Medical evidence was obtained in support of the Claimant's injuries from an Orthopaedic Surgeon. This confirmed that the Claimant could no longer make a boxers fist. Although her right hand was not her dominant hand.

The Claimant's and Defendants solicitors entered into negotiations with a view to trying to reach an amicable settlement. Agreement could be reached so the Claimant instructed her solicitors to commence county court proceedings. The only element in dispute between the parties was the level of the Claimant's compensation. Lliability was conceded.

Court Award

The court finally heard the Claimant's claim three years after the accident took place. In addition to awarding compensation for pain and suffering the court found that the Claimant was entitled to a modest "Smith v Manchester" award. This was because the Claimant was at disadvantage to others on the labour market.

The Judge awarded £4,500 for the Claimant's pain suffering and loss of amenity. The Judge also awarded £1000.00 for the minor disadvantage on the open labour market. The remainder of the award was made up of financial losses.