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HGV driver injured at work secures £150,000 in compensation following 14Ft fall from trailer

Client stories

Express Solicitors’ partner and specialist in employers’ liability claims, Robert Weeden, acted for claimant Stephen Nelson, 59 from Ashington, Northumberland to pursue a claim for personal injuries following a workplace accident.

Following a 14ft fall from a loaded trailer causing significant injuries, Mr Weeden successfully negotiated over £150,000 in compensation for his client.

The impact of the fall on his client, which included a bleed on the brain, eight broken ribs and a collapsed lung among other muscular impact injuries resulted in the severely injured Mr Nelson requiring a six month period off work to fully recover.

The resulting head injury and long-period of concussion following the accident also meant Mr Nelson’s career was placed in jeopardy as he had both his car and HGV licence revoked.

Commenting on the case, Robert Weeden, concluded:

“Head and brain injuries require specialists to deal with them as the effects can be far reaching. While most make a full recovery, others do require longer term care. The compensation needs to best reflect both the immediate needs and future needs of the client. In Mr Nelson’s case the team was able to show that the injuries received put an immediate stop, literally overnight, to him continuing to operate as a HGV driver, a career that he had built up over a number of years was simply pulled away from him. Of course, this had a devastating impact on both him and his family both financially and emotionally, with him dealing with bouts of depression long after the scars of the accident had healed.

Thankfully, all of these mitigating circumstances were taken into consideration and the compensation secured reflect the impact on his future earnings.”

Commenting on the service received by Robert Weedon, Stephen adds: “While not in regular daily contact with Robert, when I did want to ask him any questions, he was readily available to speak with me. The claim period lasted just short of four years in total and during that time I received the best advice, support and guidance from all the team at Express Solicitors.”

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.”

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