HGV driver injured at work secures £150,000 in compensation following 14Ft fall from trailer
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- When can I make a claim for an accident at work?
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- 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.
HGV driving career left in jeopardy following 14Ft fall at work
On the day of the accident, 27/01/2017, Mr Nelson, a qualified HGV driver, was loading up the 45ft side trailer at a local northeast wood factory ready for early departures on Monday morning.
“Because it was a Friday, we have cover sheets that go over the wood, so if it was to rain over the weekend the material would be really protected to keep them dry and prevent them from being damaged. I had finished loading and was busy putting the sheet on. On that particular trailer the inside light wasn’t working, so I had the curtain slightly open on the side so I had some natural light coming in so I could see what I was doing.
“The next thing that I remember was my foot was in mid air and the inside of the curtain was passing me.”
“All I remember looking at the ground and realising that it was coming closer and closer. I thought I didn’t want to hit the ground face first so I twisted and turned away and all my injuries were on my left hand side. I hit the ground with a thud. I wasn’t unconscious. I managed to get myself up off the ground. I was winded but didn’t realise at the time how much damage I had done to myself.”
Unfortunately for Mr Nelson no-one else in the yard saw the fall, so despite being in significant pain he managed to walk around the trailer to signal for help. A fellow colleague radioed for assistance, initially suspecting a heart attack, and the first aiders arrived on the scene and immediately called an ambulance.
“The ambulance took nearly an hour to arrive. I was taken to the hospital. I was in denial at the time as to how serious my injuries were.”
“I broke eight ribs. I had a collapsed lung, damaged my shoulder blade and had a bleed on the right side of my brain due to hitting my head on the floor. I fell from the top of the packs – I think a distance of around 13 to 14ft.”
Due to the severity of his injuries Mr Nelson spent two weeks in the hospital, after which for a period of six months continued to recover at home. Fortunately, Mr Nelson’s salary was paid in full, minus the overnight extra bonus he usually received, during his initial recovery. This further reduced down to around half of what he usually would have earned so he looked to return back to work when he was fit and well enough.
“I couldn’t just simply pick up where I left off as I wasn’t cleared for driving because of the extent of my head injuries.”
“As I was at risk of developing epilepsy or fitting the doctors wouldn’t sign off either my car or HGV licence. I therefore returned to light work on the farm, a separate business owned by my employers. A year after the accident I did receive my car licence back, which offered a glimmer of hope.
I always had hoped that it would just be a year glitch – so I could return to driving and earning the salary that I had enjoyed previously. Slowly as time passed, I realised that I may not be ever able to get my HGV licence back. This really is what prompted me to seek compensation. I felt that everything I worked hard for, built up over the years, was just gone. It was out of my hands and there was nothing that I could do about it. Someone else had control.
Out of curiosity, I was searching on the web and landed on Express Solicitors website. I filled in the questions with brief details about what had happened. About 20 minutes later I received a phone call from them to take down further details. The case escalated and after another phone call I wasn’t too sure if I was going to take it any further. I didn’t know if I wanted to upset the apple cart further at work. I had actually made the decision that I wasn’t going to pursue it anymore. For a few thousand pounds it didn’t feel worth the effort.
It was never really about the money but rather the security it offered. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to be able to return to HGV driving so in order to beat my spiralling depression, I needed to take back control and put my life in order.
“Initially figures suggested it was in the region of £50k. A figure worth pursuing and a comfortable amount of compensation for the loss of licence, work and career progression so I’m glad I kept with it.”
In fact an offer was made by the other side before medical evidence was finalised which Robert advised to turn down, which was difficult advice to follow as the offer was tempting.
Stephen Nelson’s case was settled in March 2021, receiving over £150,000 in total.
“Robert was instrumental in securing this sum of money for me and my family”
“We invested the majority in our first owned property. The compensation enabled us to put a large deposit straight down on a house. A lovely three bed bedroom semi-detached house. The money also enabled me to personally fund my fork lift truck licence which is what got me the job at a large North East logistic depot.
“I hope that five years on, having never had a fit, epilepsy and with all the headaches having passed, that my head injury consultant will shortly be signing off the necessary paperwork to enable me to obtain my HGV licence back and I can complete my road to recovery.”