Case Study

Heavy Container Accident At Work

Case Type: Accident at Work
Injury: Right hand
Settled by: Elaine Hickey
Settled on: 17th January, 2023
Heavy Container Accident At Work

Case Summary

The Incident

Kevin was working a nightshift as a crew member unloading containers. One evening, as he began to unlock a trailer, the crane driver released a container without checking if it was safe to do so. The container weighing 2,500 kilogram’s dropped on Kevin’s right hand.

Luckily, the container was attached to a trailer which took most of the weight, so Kevin was able to move his crushed hand from under the container. However, he sustained a severe cut between his right index and middle finger. His hand was bleeding profusely.

Another member of the unloading crew contacted a supervisor, and an ambulance was called for Kevin.

Upon his arrival to the hospital, his hand was thoroughly cleaned and stitched under local aesthetic. He was diagnosed with a significant tendon injury to his right hand.

Kevin’s hand remained in a claw-like position for weeks after the accident as it was far too painful for him to stretch open his hand.

Two weeks later, Kevin had the stitches in his hand removed. This revealed a thick scar measuring two point five centimetres in between his fingers. The scar was ‘tender on deep palpation’ meaning Kevin constantly feels a pulse beat sensation in his hand.

He attended sixteen sessions of physiotherapy in attempts to improve his deteriorating grip strength.

As time went on Kevin continued to report pain in his hand when carrying objects. Kevin is right hand dominant, so simple home tasks became a challenge, and he was also unable to write for a long period of time following the accident.

He also reported occasional numbness in his hand. Prior to the accident, Kevin enjoyed going to the gym and lifting weights, but his reduced grip strength and pain meant he was unable to return to his pre-injury activities.

Due to the neglectful actions of the defendants, Kevin suffered pain, distress, and discomfort. His social, domestic, and recreational life have all been disrupted. He continues to have ongoing issues with pain, cold intolerance, and stiffness in his hand.

His employers failed to provide not just Kevin, and his fellow employees with a safe system of work. They failed to train the crane driver in safety precautions when unloading a container. Every employer bears the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of their workforce and is expected to provide safe and hazard free protocols. Unfortunately, his employers did not do this, resulting in this painful accident at work.

Case progression:

The Injuries Resolution Board assessed the injury at €12,298.33. Solicitor Elaine Hickey reviewed the Injuries Resolution Board assessment and felt that it did not properly compensate the client for the injuries incurred. Elaine instead instigated Court proceedings, and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.

Case settlement:

The case was settled on the 6th of December 2022 for the sum of €22,298.33. This was a great result for our client and we are proud of all the work put in by Elaine and her team to achieve this brilliant outcome.

*Note: Client name changed for GDPR reasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the legal time limits?

    The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim vary depending on the situation. The general rule for all personal injury cases is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

  2. How to calculate the value of my claim?

    The Injuries Board Book of Quantum provides us with general guidelines as to how much compensation may be awarded in a personal injury claim and is used by the Injuries Board when they are assessing a personal injury claim. This book was compiled by examining sample cases from over 51,000 closed personal injury cases from 2013 and 2014 and is based on actual court figures. It shows us what personal injury compensation amounts were awarded in the past and help give an estimate as to how much compensation could be awarded based on a person’s specific injuries.

  3. What to do after an accident at work?

    After an accident at work and before making a work related claim, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. In minor workplace incidents whereby you have a slip, trip or fall, you may feel as though you are fine, but what you don’t realise is that the minor injury you have suffered could develop into a bigger health issue for you. Assessing your health after an accident is a critical first step.

    Once you have had a medical assessment there are a number of steps you will follow:

    1. Report the accident to your superior

    Before making work related claims it is important that you notify your manager at work as to the accident that occurred. You need you to inform them of the injuries you suffered and the cause of the accident. It is advisable for you to seek confirmation from your superior that you have reported the accident, whether it is written or electronic.

    2. Seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor

    Once you have reported the accident, it is important that you seek advice from a personal injury solicitor who has experience with accidents in the workplace. They can then talk you through the next steps as to what is involved when making work related claims.

    In the event that you do decide to take a personal injury claim, you are not obliged to personally tell your employer. Your solicitor can write to your employer and notify them of the claim. Some of our clients have told us that they feel that it would be better for them to inform their employer that a claim was being made and that their solicitor would be in touch. This is a matter for each client. Generally, we would advise that all communications regarding the case take place between the legal representatives.

  4. How do I report a workplace accident?

    It is important to immediately take the following steps after the occurrence of an accident at work.

    • Report the accident immediately to your superior and ensure that an accident report is completed and you are given a copy of it.
    • Seek medical attention immediately and ensure that your doctor or hospital personnel keep detailed records of the accident.

    There are strict obligations on employers under the Health & Safety Acts together with other legislation to ensure that employees have a safe system of work and that employees are properly trained in the tasks that they are carrying out and that they are provided with proper equipment in the course of their employment.

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