A former demolition worker who developed hand arm vibration syndrome received £118,000 in what is believed to be one of the highest claims settlements for this condition in the UK.
Thomas Feerick-Kenny, 41, started with DSM Demolition Limited in 2000, and worked for the firm until 2011. During his 11 years of employment, he used tools such as jackhammers, Stihl saws and trimming hammers in the course of his everyday work.
Over a period of time Thomas developed symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) such as loss of sensitivity, whitening and tingling in the fingers of both hands. In March 2010, he was medically diagnosed with the condition.
HAVS (also known as vibration white finger) is a condition brought on by over-use of vibrating tools and machinery. Symptoms can include:
- Loss of dexterity and sensitivity in the fingers
- Loss of colour
HAVS is an avoidable condition and can be managed by employers through the limitation of the amount of time workers spend using certain machines or tools.
Thomas’s Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claim
Thomas’ symptoms are so severe that he is no longer able to work in the demolition industry.
We were approached by Thomas to act on his behalf in a claim for compensation against DSM Demolition.
At Irwin Mitchell we have an expert team of personal injury solicitors, many of whom specialise in particular types of injury. Mark Lennon, a HAVS specialist from our Birmingham office, took up Thomas’s case.
Thomas’s symptoms were the worst Mark had encountered in 10 years of dealing with HAVS claims. Beyond the physical pain and discomfort, Thomas was also suffering from anxiety and depression as a result of losing his job and not being able to work in the demolition industry any more.
How We Helped Thomas
Unfortunately DSM Demolition contested Thomas’s case, maintaining that they were not responsible for him developing the condition. We obtained detailed evidence from former colleagues as well as medical experts to demonstrate that Thomas’ condition had resulted from health and safety failings at DSM Demolition.
The case was settled out of court for an agreed figure of over £118,000 – one of the biggest ever settlements for this type of claim.
Commenting on the service Irwin Mitchell provided, Thomas said: “I knew my condition was serious so I turned to Irwin Mitchell and they supported me every step of the way, providing initial advice about my condition, explaining my options and assisting me with my benefit applications.”
Thomas has been left unable to do the job he loved as a result of his condition. He is using part of his compensation to retrain, with his ultimate goal being to gain a position in health and safety. He hopes to be able to protect workers and save others from suffering an avoidable workplace injury or illness.
If you or a loved one has suffered from repetitive strain injuries, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and vibration white finger caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.
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