Sheffield woman compensated for facial injury

Fractured cheekbone compensation claim

07.12.2005

A Sheffield woman has been awarded £6,500 in compensation after sustaining a fractured cheekbone in a workplace injury.

With help from Sheffield-based national law firm Irwin Mitchell, Pat Kubon, 56, of Meadowcroft Gardens, Westfield, Sheffield was awarded the sum in an out-of-court settlement, following a claim for damages against her employer of the time, Hazelwood Delicatessen and Meat Group, formerly of Retford Road, Sheffield.

Since 2003, the company, which sells food and household items at discounted prices, has traded as Food Trade Centre.

Ms Kubon, who had been employed as a shop floor assistant by Hazelwood for five years at the time of her accident in March 2002, was preparing to re-stock shelves with items from the warehouse at the back of the shop.

Recalling her accident, Ms Kubon said: "I was making my way to the back of the warehouse to collect boxes of sweets. In the warehouse there are two tiers of racking, which are stacked with pallets of food. There was a large chest freezer in front of the racks with the sweets on, which meant I had to climb a stepladder to stand on the freezer to reach them.

"However, as there were numerous boxes piled on top of the freezer which shouldn't have been there, I was restricted to where I could position the stepladders.

"I managed to reach the sweets quite easily and placed them on top of the other boxes that were already on top of the freezer and then started climbing back down. I remember putting my foot out towards the top step of the ladder and the next recollection I have is of being on the floor, dazed and confused."

"Although nobody witnessed my fall, a colleague must have heard the commotion and rushed over to assist me by lifting me and putting me in an office chair. My face was bleeding heavily by this point and I was in a great deal of pain, but I dared not look at myself."

An ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and, purely by chance, Ms Kubon's daughter-in-law, Kerry, was in the shop at the time of the accident. She followed the ambulance to Northern General Hospital.

Ms Kubon said: "After having an x-ray, I was referred to Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, as I needed a facial expert and one wasn't available at Northern General. I was then sent to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where I had an operation to have my cheekbone lifted under general anaesthetic the following day."

After two weeks off work, Ms Kubon returned on lighter duties for a while before resuming normal responsibilities.

Her face remained bruised and swollen for several weeks following the operation and, being very conscious of her appearance, she was prescribed anti-depressants. She remains dependent on the medication to this day.

Ms Kubon left Hazelwood in August 2004 to take a shop assistant's position at Readmans in Sheffield but now works as a home carer.

Her compensation claim was handled by Lisa Fairclough, a personal injury expert based at Irwin Mitchell's Riverside offices.

Miss Fairclough said: "The injuries suffered by Ms Kubon came as a direct result of no formal training being given in manual handling, stacking or retrieving goods from the shelves. Forklift trucks were available for putting pallets onto the racking but the trucks were rarely used to retrieve the goods.

"As a result of her accident, Ms Kubon suffers from bouts of depression and is very self-conscious. She has limited her social activities and the injury has affected her personal relationships.

"This case highlights the importance of health and safety policies and ensuring that all staff are fully trained and familiar with workplace procedures. Employers also have a duty of care to their staff, which includes ensuring goods are stacked carefully so that they don't present hazardous working conditions".

If you or a loved one has suffered a fracture or broken bone as the result of an accident, our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation. Visit our Broken Bone Or Fracture Claims page for more information.