£8,000 compensation for man hurt in digger accident


The claimant involved in a digger accident was employed by the defendants as a labourer on one of their building sites. During the course of his employment he was helping move two metal items using a digger. The system of work was unsatisfactory and as a result the claimant's leg was trapped.

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Case details

Injuries and Progression

The claimant's left leg was fractured. Only the tibia bone was fractured not the fibula. The claimant already had ankle ligament problems and these were made worse by the accident. Following removal of the plaster cast it was clear that the ankle joint ligament laxity would need to be operated on.

The basis of the award is that his employers owed him a common law duty of care to provide him with a safe system of work and in addition where there is an element of negligence by another employee which causes the accident the employers become liable for the employee's negligence under the principle of what is known as vicarious liability.

The Court then assessing the compensation took account of the fact that an examination of the claimant's medical history revealed that he had pre-existing lateral ligament instability in the left ankle.

He was compensated however for the fact that notwithstanding this pre-existing injury the accident itself had caused him a great deal of pain and suffering when in fact he was not having any problem with the ankle at the time of the accident itself.

Defendants will often argue that claimant's compensation should be reduced because they had a pre-existing medical condition but nevertheless an award is made if the accident has made the symptoms worse or, as in some cases, has accelerated the time by which the claimant would have suffered symptoms from the original injury.

The claimant's and defendants solicitors entered into meaningful negotiations to try reach an amicably settlement but negotiations broke down. The claimant therefore instructed his solicitors to commence county court proceedings.

Court Award

The hearing was in Swansea at the County Court the claimant's case five years after his accident. The claimant was awarded £8,000 for pain suffering and loss of amenity. An additional £2,500 was awarded for future surgery costs

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher