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Former Heavy Manual Worker Forced To Take Legal Action After Suffering Life-Changing Injuries At Work

Legal Specialists Irwin Mitchell Are Working On Securing Interim Payments To Fund The Man’s Recovery


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A former machinist, who suffered serious injuries including a shattered foot and broken leg when a component weighing 1.6 tonnes fell on him at work, has instructed specialist workplace accident lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in an attempt to get help for his rehabilitation and recovery.

John Dennis, 66, from South Shields, was working for Renown Oils & Gas Ltd at the company’s site in Washington when the accident occurred on Monday, 19 January 2015.

After initially working overtime on the Sunday in preparation for the job, John began working on Monday morning as usual. His job involved him working with a vertical boring machine which would shape a component to an appropriate size with the desired dimensions for the job.

However, despite having carried out numerous ‘turns’ on the component with the vertical boring machine previously, on the day of the accident as John was using the machine to shape the component fixed to the machine, the component came loose.

Once it was loose, the component proceeded to move away from the machine and fall onto John, dislocating his left foot and leaving it shattered and needing pins and screws; he also sustained breaks to both his left and right legs.  John was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital after the accident and was an inpatient for almost three weeks, undergoing treatment and surgery on his leg and foot.

After the incident, John instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate the cause of his accident and to help secure the necessary funds and support he needs to continue his ongoing rehabilitation and recovery.

John, who had been working for the company two years prior to the accident, said: “The accident happened so quickly. I saw the component begin to move and the next thing I knew it was on top of me.

“I was knocked out and fell to the ground. When I woke up I knew I was seriously injured because my left ankle was just hanging off my leg and my foot was facing in the opposite direction.

“I am still in pain, especially with my left ankle. It is worst first thing in the morning, sometimes it takes twenty painful minutes after I’ve woken up until I can move it. I am also struggling with depression as I was a very active man before the accident, but being stuck at home due to my injuries, I feel I am losing my independence.”

Since John’s accident, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that the bolts holding the jaws in place were made of mild steel, and not high tensile steel as they should have been. It is the jaws which held the component in place on the vertical boring machine.

The HSE also advised Renown Oil & Gas Ltd that there was no escape route available for the person controlling the machine, due to the control panel being against a wall.

Following the HSE investigation, all bolts on all machines at the firm’s site in Washington have now been replaced with high tensile bolts, rather than mild steel bolts. The firm has also knocked through the wall the control panel is against in order to provide an escape route for the controller should issues arise again.

Gemma Allsop, the expert workplace accident legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing John, said:

Expert Opinion
“We are keen to ensure we get the necessary funds that John needs for his recovery.

“Through no fault of his own John has been left suffering with serious injuries and is in vital need of specialist rehabilitation to help him get his health back on track and to get back to work.”
Gemma Parkin, Legal Executive

John is still awaiting guidance from his consultant whether further surgery is needed on his damaged left ankle, to fuse the ankle joint. Despite liability for the accident being admitted by his former employer’s and their insurers already issuing an interim payment to help him financially given he is unable to work, John’s legal team have been forced to issue legal proceedings in an attempt to secure a further interim payment for his ongoing losses.

The reason for the current position is that the insurers are unwilling to grant the payment without finalised medical evidence. However, owing to the possibility of John needing further surgery his legal team cannot provide the evidence at this stage in his claim.

Speaking on this issue, Gemma said:

Expert Opinion
“Unfortunately we now have to take steps to issue court proceedings to try and obtain an interim payment for John. After the HSE investigation and the company’s insurers admitting liability for the accident, to have to fight for them to now pay John a further interim payment is very disappointing.

“Without this payment, John will continue to struggle financially, as he is unfit to work at this stage, and may never be. We hope we are able to secure the funding he needs so John can fully focus on ensuring he recovers fully from this devastating incident.”
Gemma Parkin, Legal Executive