Case Study: Lumbar Spine Injury Suffered While Driving a Forklift Truck

Mr C Was Awarded £45,000

A man has been awarded £45,000 compensation after he suffered a lumbar spine injury whilst driving a forklift truck.

The case

Mr C was driving a forklift truck at work when the truck went over a hole, causing him to suffer back pain.  He decided to make a claim for his injuries and contacted JMW Solicitors. 

The claim

A warehouse operative, Mr C jolted his back after driving over a large hole in his employer’s warehouse floor.  Due to the size of the hole, it was impossible to avoid, and although the issue had been reported to an H&S officer in the past, his employer had not acted to fix it.  We used these details to put together a letter of claim which was sent to his employer, the defendant, advising them of Mr C’s intent to claim, and that the matter should be dealt with by their insurer.  The defendant’s insurer responded, admitting responsibility for his accident. 

Medical care and interim payment

Mr C’s employer provided him with access to an Occupational Health Therapist to assist with his recovery and to help him get back to work.  The therapist sent him to have an x-ray, which confirmed he had been suffering with bulging discs and muscle damage.  It was therefore suggested he have three sessions of physiotherapy.  It was advised that if this didn’t work, he would need to be referred to a spinal specialist. 

Mr C told us that he was struggling financially as he was unable to work.  We therefore requested an interim payment from the defendant’s insurer, whilst the claim was being resolved.  The insurer agreed to this. 

Gathering evidence

In order to settle Mr C’s claim, we needed to get him examined by an independent medical expert, who could provide a report, including a prognosis on his injuries.  The defendant’s insurer insisted that the medical expert who carried out this report was an independent Consultant Spinal Surgeon. 

Meanwhile, Mr C’s GP sent him for an MRI scan and his occupational therapist sent him to a chiropractor.  The MRI scan showed that Mr C had bulges in between two of his spinal discs.  As a result of the continual back pain he was experiencing, he was referred to a pain clinic to help reduce his pain levels. 

As Mr C had been unable to return to work since the accident, his employer required him to attend several meetings with them to discuss work options.  Unfortunately, Mr C’s employer ultimately dismissed him at one of the meetings, as he was unable to perform his role and nothing could be done to find a role he was able to do. 

Meanwhile, we received the report from the Consultant Spinal Surgeon, who confirmed that Mr C had degenerative changes in his discs, which pre-existed his accident.  Further, the expert highlighted that Mr C’s accident had caused an acceleration of this pre-existing degenerative change and he should undergo further rehabilitation. 

Final settlement

Mr C agreed he was happy for us to disclose the report from the independent medical expert to the insurer, in order to start the settlement process.  They responded by making an offer of £45,000 to settle his claim.  This was earlier than anticipated, and so we spoke to a barrister to seek advice on behalf of Mr C as to whether this was a reasonable settlement. 

After discussion with the barrister and Mr C, we felt that the offer was reasonable based on Mr C’s level of recovery, the amount of time he had been absent from work, and the likely length of time he would have before returning to work.  Mr C decided to accept the offer and was delighted with the outcome of the case and our hard work.  

Have you also been injured while at work?

If so then you could make a claim if it is the fault of another. Speak to us by calling 0800 054 6570 or filling in our contact form. We can talk through what happened and offer free, no obligation advice on whether you have a claim.

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