Wednesday, 16 January 2013

£16,000 compensation for UNISON member who fell down lift shaft at work

16 Jan 2013

Trade union solicitors Thompsons has secured damages totalling £16,000 for a UNISON member who suffered a serious trauma at work. Irene Turnbull was left with physical and psychological damage after falling down a lift shaft which she believed to be a cupboard.

In July 2009 Mrs Turnbull was tasked with showing a maintenance man around the Mitchell Library where she worked as a venue officer. Her employers Culture and Sport Glasgow had supplied her with a building map which indicated where she was to take the maintenance man and included what was clearly marked as a cupboard.

Mrs Turnbull opened what she believed to be the cupboard door, and as she reached forward to turn on the light she fell down what was actually a lift shaft.

Mrs Turnbull sustained a radial fracture and injuries to her lower back and right hip. As well as this there was significant psychological suffering due to the nature of the accident including anxiety and adjustment disorder.

As a Unison member Mrs Turnbull was entitled to the legal services of Thompsons at no cost and they raised the claim on the member’s behalf.

Mrs Turnbull said: “I was very happy with the service I received from Thompsons and was pleased with the outcome. This is the first time I’ve had an accident at work and the whole experience was very traumatic. Having someone who could help make this easier was a huge relief.”

In this case liability was not disputed but the insurers made a pre litigation offer of only £6,000. Thompsons were able to negotiate a further £10,000 on top of this. Anne Marie Harbison, who represented Mrs Turnbull said: “This was a horrible experience for the client which will have a lasting affect on her, long after the physical injuries heal. This has been reflected in the damages awarded and I’m pleased we were able to argue successfully for this on behalf on Mrs Turnbull.” 


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