Settlement in accident at work claim for steel erector who lost his leg falling from a crane | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Settlement in accident at work claim for steel erector who lost his leg falling from a crane

Jennifer Buchanan and Lewis Ayre settled a claim on behalf of a self-employed Steel Erector who had to undergo a below knee amputation following a serious injury at work.

His boss asked him to remove an access panel on a crane ready for repair the next morning. The task was not part of the Claimant's work duties and he was not given detailed instruction or risk assessments about the task. The panel was poorly maintained, with the bolts rusted shut. Access was only by traversing the side of the crane cab using hand holds and sidestepping across the ledge from about 1.5m.

After attempting several methods, he successfully removed the panel. When he attempted to get down the same way, he fell to the ground and suffered a severe open/tibia fracture. Despite extensive treatment, infection ultimately necessitated a left below knee amputation.

The Defendant, while initially collaborative with rehabilitation and suggesting off the record primarily liability would not be an issue, upon learning of the amputation, unilaterally withdrew support for rehabilitation and denied liability in full. Following our repeated requests for a site inspection, they confirmed the index crane had been disposed of. We eventually tracked this down to a crane scrap retailer in the Netherlands. We identified a similar model in the UK and undertook the necessary inspection.

Liability was firmly disputed and various allegations were raised against the Claimant including issues with his footwear. The case settled for £2.2m to provide the Claimant with all the prosthetic, accommodation and care needs he will require in the future. In addition to significant issues of liability, this had to be balanced against the impending discount rate change that would have affected future losses had the claim continued.

Following conclusion, our client said: 'Jennifer and Lewis were efficient and very supportive from the offset and guided us through every aspect of the process and continue to do so.

'I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work from helping me get a case manager, occupational health care and rehabilitation services and for setting up appointments to see specialist consultants. If the situation was to arise that would require Fieldfisher's services, I could not recommend them highly enough.'

Contact us

For further information about work accident claims and personal injury claims, please call Jennifer Buchanan on 03304606774 or email, or call Lewis Ayre on 0330 460 6788 or email


Related expertise

Work Accident Claims