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Written by Kim Milan

Boyes Turner’s personal injury lawyers secured £188,000 compensation for a client who suffered a moderate head injury in an accident at work.

Our client was employed by the defendant as a telecoms engineer. He and a colleague were tasked with removing a heavy cabinet from the upper floor of a building. The cabinet weighed approximately 140kg and was too large to fit in the lift. On the week before the accident, he had gone to the building to remove the cabinet but had then called his line manager and refused to move it. The reason he gave for refusing to move the cabinet was that it was too large to fit in the lift and unsafe to slide or carry down the marble stairs, and the necessary stair climber equipment was not available.

On the day of the accident, having returned to the building with his colleague, he suffered a head injury whilst trying to move the cabinet. Subsequently, he had no memory of the accident and didn’t know why he had agreed to carry out a manoeuvre which a few days previously he had believed unsafe. However, it transpired he and his colleague had attempted to slide the cabinet down the stairs, with our client holding the bottom of the cabinet and walking backwards down the stairs. His colleague had lost his grip on the cabinet which then collided with our client, causing him to fall and hit his head.

Despite the difficulties in the case, given the severity of our client’s injuries we agreed to help our client pursue a claim. His employer, the defendant, denied liability on the basis that our client caused the accident and his injury by tripping and falling after he lost his grip on the cabinet. We applied to the court for an order that the defendant disclose documents relevant to the accident. However, a few days before the court application date, the defendant disclosed documents which revealed a lack of detailed risk assessment or proper training had taken place. The documents also revealed discrepancies in the evidence of the colleague who was lifting the cabinet with our client at the time of the accident. He confirmed that it had been his decision to slide the cabinet down the stairs as he felt uncomfortable using the stair climber, due to inadequate training. He had lost his grip on the cabinet which then collided with our client.

The defendant continued to deny liability, so we issued court proceedings. On our advice, our client rejected an offer of £5,000 to settle his claim. Our neurologist and neuropsychologist experts advised that our client had suffered a moderate head injury and was unlikely to return to paid employment. Despite the defendant employers’ continued denial of liability, we were able to negotiate an agreed settlement of £188,817 for our client.