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£1.3m Secured for Scaffolding Head Injury that caused Permanent Brain Damage

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Louisa Chambers secured £1.3m for scaffolding head injury

Louisa Chambers

Complex Injury Litigator

Type: Work related head injury
Total Injury Duration: Permanent

Total Damages: £1,342,574

We secured £1.3 million in compensation for a 44 year-old man in September 2012 - after an accident at work at age 39 left him with permanent brain damage.

For the purpose of this case study, the claimant will be referred to as 'Mr C'.

Within just a few days of working on a building site, Mr C was struck on the head by a five foot scaffolding pole, which fell from a height of over five metres. He suffered significant brain damage and a right sided hemi-paresis.

How Mr C was injured at work

While working on the construction site, Mr C needed to reach the staff facilities to fill a kettle from a stand pipe. As there was no clear safe route outlined by his employer, Mr C began to make his own way across the site, passing underneath an area where the scaffolds were being dismantled.

After filling his kettle, Mr C travelled back the same way he came - again encountering the area where scaffolders were at work. The path he'd taken required him to step out from underneath the scaffolding lift and so he shouted up to one of the scaffolders, asking if it was safe to pass. When he was told it was safe, he continued on his path.

It was at this point that the pole struck him on the head, after falling from the top of the scaffolding structure.

Effects of the brain injury

Since the accident, Mr C has been living with cognitive problems. He is easily worried and suffers from anxiety. The whole right side of his body has been affected by the hemi-paresis - he has very little useful function of his right arm, and he struggles to know where his right foot is positioned which means he is very unsteady on his feet and at risk of falling.

He now needs assistance to carry out simple tasks like bathing, dressing and using the toilet. It is almost impossible for him to concentrate on two things at once, such as carrying a glass of water as he walks.

For a period after the incident, Mr C's ex-partner moved into his flat (where he and their two children lived), along with a third daughter of the ex-partner, to provide full-time care for him.

The family moved into a more suitable rented home that required several modifications to accommodate Mr C's new way of life.

Here, Mr C was totally reliant on his ex-partner to care for him, to manage the household's finances, and the children.

Meanwhile, the Court ordered a substantial interim payment to cover the cost of Mr C's multi-disciplinary rehabilitation program. This involved support workers, a neuro-psychologist, a neuro-physiotherapist and an occupational therapist.

However, following this financial support from the Court, Mr C's ex-partner fell seriously ill; so ill, that she was no longer capable of caring for Mr C.

A 22-hours-per-day support package was then introduced, so he could remain safe in his own home, especially during the night - when he would wake with night terrors and struggle to reach the toilet by himself. This care became diluted when Mr C's children began to care for their father through the night.

Mr C's legal case

Building site head protection

Mr C's individual case is described as a 'work related injury'; he was an employee, and had a right to make a claim - not only for his injuries, the long-term effects and financial implications but also for the avoidable way in which the accident happened.

Here is what Mr C claimed ...

  • His employer failed to give him a formal site induction
  • His employer failed to instruct him to wear a hard hat
  • His employer failed to provide him with any personal protective equipment

During the investigation into the case it became clear that hard hats could be found dotted around the site but Mr C always denied that he was ever provided with one personally, or even directed to wear one. He also revealed that the site was relaxed in general and that not everyone wore head safety gear.

Upon these claims of employer negligence being brought against his employer by Spencers Solicitors, they accepted primarily liability.

However, they proposed that Mr C was partially at fault (contributory negligent) for the accident because he failed to wear a hard hat and failed to take a safer route to the stand pipe.

The case then went to trial and the Judge found:

  • The employer had not conducted a risk-assessment for the scaffolding dismantling operation
  • The employer did not provide Mr C with a formal health and safety induction
  • The employer did not provide Mr C with his own hard hat (but was informed that they were available on site)
  • The employer had displayed signs on site that instructed workers to wear hard hats
  • Mr C was an experienced labourer
  • If Mr C wore a hard hat, it would have made a 'significant difference' to his injuries - it was likely to have prevented permanent brain damage and disability

As a result, the Judge determined that Mr C was 20% contributory negligent, therefore any settlement would be deducted by a fifth.

With Spencers Solicitors on his side, Mr C successfully secured £1,342,574 - a fair settlement for a workplace injury of such significance.

How can we help you?

Here at Spencers Solicitors we have a dedicated team of solicitors who specialise in accident at work and brain injury cases such as this.

If you have suffered an injury in the workplace and believe you may have a case, contact us. You can call us on 08000 93 00 94, or fill in an Online Claim Enquiry and one of our advisors will call you back.

Remember you're not committed to anything - we're simply here to help.



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