Accidents at work, especially those in the construction industry are unfortunately all too common. Often short cuts are taken by both employers and employees to save time and money, but of course when things go wrong, it can have a devastating impact on the injured person. In some cases it means that they are not able to return to their previous occupation.
I recently settled a case for a client who was injured whilst descending a ladder. He had been repairing a roof, but was on his way down for a short break. The ladder slid and he fell, landing on his right foot. The ladder in question was not suitable; it was too large for the job in question and had no grips. In addition, there had not been adequate scaffolding around the building.
Whilst my client had no difficulty establishing primary liability against the company he had worked for, he had to accept that he was also partly to blame for his failure to ensure the ladder was secure. However, the percentage reduction for contributory negligence against my client could not be agreed. Proceedings were issued and interim payments obtained to fund treatment.
The injuries suffered by my client were life-changing. He sustained a complicated fracture dislocation of his right ankle and subsequently underwent four surgical procedures. These included an open reduction and internal fixation; arthroscopic debridement of the joint; arthrodesis; and revision arthrodesis. It is likely that my client will require further surgery due to non-union of the fracture. He was not able to return work as a roofer. Understandably, my client suffered from severe depression relating to his constant pain and restricted mobility as well as inability to work and required counselling.
After a lengthy legal battle, the claim settled by consent for hundreds of thousands of pounds. My client, with the benefit of hindsight, wishes he had done things differently and taken the time to ensure the ladder was secure as this would have prevented the accident. He was nevertheless happy to have settled the claim, as he can now concentrate on his future.