Electrician wins £45,000 settlement after suffering rare leg break at work.
How to claim for an accident at work
Want to know more about claiming for an accident at work. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.
- When can I make a claim for an accident at work?
- How long after an accident at work can I claim?
- What types of accidents at work can I claim for?
- What are my legal rights to claim for a workplace accident?
- What should I do if I’ve been injured at work?
- Can I make an accident at work claim if I’m partly at fault?
How much compensation can I claim for an accident at work?
Read our accident at work legal guide to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.
A normal work day that took a turn for the worst.
In February 2021, Kevin Clarke was assigned a rewiring job on a scissor lift in the centre of London. Without being given appropriate ladders, Mr Clarke was having to climb and balance himself around the sides of the lift to carry out his job. Whilst overstretching, Mr Clarke lost his footing and fell approximately three metres to the ground.
Mr Clarke explained, “When I fell I did all the damage to my right leg. I suffered a pilon fracture which is relatively rare and it is caused by falling from a height and landing on your leg in such a way that your ankle joint is driven up into your tibia (shin bone), causing it to split like a log.” Mr Clarke continued saying, “I was screaming, proper ‘big boy’ crying in pain and that was what alerted my colleague from outside the building to come in and find me.”
“I was screaming, proper ‘big boy’ crying in pain and that was what alerted my colleague from outside the building to come in and find me.”
Mr Clarke’s colleague was able to support his leg for him whilst they waited for the emergency services. “The police, ambulance and air ambulance all arrived very quickly as they weren’t sure whether or not I had a head injury. The emergency services were prepared for everything, but thankfully I only needed an ambulance in the end.”
Mr Clarke was rushed to the nearest hospital in Whittington to carry out x-rays and CT scans to check for other injuries. “I was then transferred to the trauma unit at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on the same day due to the severity of my injuries. The following day I had surgery to have an external fixation fitted to support my lower leg and keep everything in place whilst the swelling went down. A week later, I had surgery on the inside of my leg which involved having metal pins and plates fitted.”
A long and frustrating recovery from an injured leg
Mr Clarke was unable to return to work for about ten months after his accident, the first three months of that time involved not bearing any weight at all on his right leg. “The doctors were very, very clear that I couldn’t bear any weight at all on that leg for three full months. This meant that I couldn’t leave the house. It was the longest time I’d ever spent at home as I have an active job and love being out and about. Even during the pandemic, I worked through the lockdowns.”
“The doctors were very, very clear that I couldn’t bear any weight at all on that leg for three full months.”
Mr Clarke continued: “The hardest part was sitting at home not being able to do anything. I couldn’t even do mundane things like getting in and out of the shower. It was very frustrating not being able to do the things I love like snowboarding or teaching lessons. I’m an active person and always have been. My wife and daughter were amazing at helping me but I found it strange and annoying having to ask for help. Things got a bit easier once I could start moving around the house on crutches, but it was still really hard.”
Whilst he was at home, Mr Clarke had to make regular visits to the district nurse to treat the infected open wounds on his leg caused by the accident.
“I’m still recovering now, I attend physiotherapy appointments twice a month and I see my consultant every six months who has given me some options for managing my pain. I can have steroid injections in my ankle, I can have a further operation to remove a piece of bone from my tibia to give me more movement or I can have my ankle joint fused, which would be the last resort if it ever became far too painful for me to handle.”
It’s a slow process, but I’m getting there
Since his prolonged recovery period, Mr Clarke is now back working as an electrician and has made a gradual return to snowboarding. “It’s a slow process, but I’m slowly getting there. There’s been a few low moments when things haven’t gone to plan and I’ve had to face the fact that I’m starting from the beginning again, but I’ll get there, I want to get back out on the mountains!”
“I want to get back out on the mountains!”
Mr Clarke continued:, “I’m back at work full time, but I’m slower than I used to be. I take my time with jobs now and don’t rush around like I used to as my leg still gives me a lot of grief. I used to be able to walk for miles, but now I can probably only manage half a mile before it becomes too painful. My job allows me to incorporate gentle walking and resting throughout the day and with my physio sessions I hope I’ll be able to build my strength back.”
How did Express Solicitors help?
Mr Clarke talked about the help and advice he received, “Sarah at Express Solicitors came recommended to me through a friend’s wife. You can’t go through a whole legal process such as this on your own, you need a professional and someone who knows what they’re doing. The legal world is a bit of a minefield to me, I don’t know where I would have been without Express Solicitors.”
“The legal world is a bit of a minefield to me, I don’t know where I would have been without Express Solicitors.”
A lack of empathy prompted the claim
As well as not being given the right equipment ahead of the job and facing completing the job on his own, Mr Clarke also didn’t feel supported by his employer after his accident and the lack of empathy prompted him to seek a claim in compensation.
Mr Clarke, added: “My employer has always had a complacent attitude towards health and safety and it was detrimental to my safety. I therefore wanted my claim to act as a reality check and for them to set up and follow through with making reasonable adjustments so the whole workforce operate in safer environments, with the correct equipment, right man power and machinery for each task. So for me, my compensation claim wasn’t about the money, it was the principle. I had an accident at work that wasn’t my fault, so I should make a claim.”
Compensation has helped me to be mortgage free
Since receiving his compensation, Mr Clarke has been able to pay off some of his mortgage and has made plans to take early retirement. “We paid a big lump sum off of the mortgage and by February next year, I will be mortgage free. I plan on having a party once it’s paid! I also hope to retire when I’m 63, but that’ll depend on the economic situation over the next year or so.”
Express Solicitors always explained everything I didn’t understand
“I asked lots of questions during the process and they would always call me back and explain things I didn’t understand.”
Mr Clarke talked about the support he received from Express Solicitors: “They were really good, whenever something happened or there was new information, they contacted me straight away. I asked lots of questions during the process and they would always call me back and explain things I didn’t understand. The communication was great and I didn’t have any problems at all.”