Trainee Joiner Whose Hand Was Shredded In Machine Returns To Sport He Loves

Workplace Injury Experts Praise Amputeeā€™s Attitude To Recovery

12.07.2012

Lawyers acting for an amateur rugby union player whose fingers were sliced to the bone by a wood cutter whilst he was at work have praised his determination to return to the sport he loved.

Jack Coupland, from Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, shredded three fingers and needed part of his ring finger amputating after his right hand got caught in a surface planer, whilst he was working unsupervised, in May 2010.

Workplace injury experts at Irwin Mitchell secured the 20-year-old a £45,000 settlement from Town and Country Joinery at Glebe Farm to cover his loss of earnings after he was forced to give up training to become a joiner.

Following the accident Jack was rushed by air ambulance to hospital and needed two operations, but despite the best efforts of medics at the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, he has permanent limited movement in his fingers.

However, the 20-year-old was determined to get back to playing rugby and since the accident has played for Moseley Colts Club and developed a new way of holding the ball because of his grip being weakened. Now, two years on, he has made it on to the first team.

Maria Littley, a serious injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, represented Jack. She said: “The injuries Jack sustained from the wood cutter were horrendous and his case shows the importance of employees receiving sufficient training and supervision to operate machinery so they are not left in a similar position to him – with an amputation at the age of 20.

“Jack was not qualified yet was left to operate dangerous machinery without supervision from someone senior within the company. Employee safety must be top priority to help ensure incidents like this cannot happen.

“Jack has shown tremendous courage and commitment and this has paid off by him being picked for the first team for his local rugby club.

“We’re pleased his employers recognised the severity of his injuries and the long-term impact these will have on his live and the settlement awarded reflects that. It covers the fact he is no longer able to train for a career in his chosen profession.”

Jack, who now works for his father making garden ornaments, said: “I was pushing a piece of wood through the cutting machine when my hand got caught and there was nothing I could do to get it away from the blades.

“I think I went into a state of shock because there was so much blood. My colleague took me to the local cottage hospital but they took one look at my hand and phoned for an air ambulance. I knew then it was serious and a race against time to get surgery to save my hand.

“The medical staff were fantastic and whilst I have lost part of my finger and can’t grip like I used to, I’m determined not to let it hold me back. Rugby has always been a passion of mine and I’ve had to adapt over the last two years to be able to get back to the standard I was but thankfully it’s paid off.

“The settlement means I can continue my recovery and can now look to my future and decide on a new career to pursue.”

Our serious injury solicitors could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. See our Amputation Claims page or Workplace Accident Claims page for more information.