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Sheffield Woman Who Suffered Brain Injury While Working At DIY Store Forced To Retire

82-Year-Old Undergoing Specialist Injury Rehabilitation To Regain Independence

10.05.2017

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

An elderly but independent woman who was severely injured when a ‘Wave’ Machine ran over her leg while she was working part-time at B&Q on Queen’s Road, Sheffield, has received a settlement to help with her rehabilitation.

Jean Ashley, from Norfolk Park, Sheffield, is an 82-year-old widow had to retire after suffering serious injuries when a colleague at DIY giant B&Q, where she was working part-time two years ago, accidentally ran her over with a “Wave Machine”, similar to a forklift truck.

Jean, whose husband passed away in 2000, instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate what happened to her and to recover a settlement as she was no longer able to return to work, despite not wanting to fully retire.

B&Q Plc has since admitted liability for her injuries allowing Irwin Mitchell to agree an undisclosed out-of-court settlement to help Jean to recover some of her independence.

Jean, who has two children and three grandchildren, said: “I started working at B&Q in 2002 on the check outs to keep busy and active and I loved it. The past couple of years have been an absolute nightmare as not only have my injuries been difficult to recover from, but I’ve also had to face the fact that I can’t work anymore – even though many people think I should already be retired!”

On Sunday 14 September 2014 Jean was completing her shift on the tills when she was asked to clear boxes from an aisle. As she was flattening the boxes another employee asked her to swap and she was on her way to the till when something hit her right foot knocking her to the ground

Jean says: “I heard a crack and I think I lost consciousness because I can’t remember what happened next but when I woke up I was lying on the ground with my back on the floor. All I remember was I needed to be sick and I was taken by ambulance to the Northern General Hospital.”

Jean was told she had suffered an acute brain injury and was given a frame to walk with for a few weeks as she regularly felt dizzy and sick. She saw a physiotherapist to help with her balance and an occupational therapist to help with her brain injury and was discharged from the hospital in October 2014.

She needed to use a frame to walk and stayed with a relative for a while before moving back home with regular visits from family members to help her with everyday chores.

She said: "The accident has completely taken my independence really as alongside working I used to love baking and gardening but I sometimes struggle now to do simple chores. I still suffer pain at the top of my head and my senses are not as strong as before.

"I’ve always loved football too and recently enjoyed a Sheffield Wednesday match at Hillsborough which was great – although I had to wait for the crowds to disappear before trying to get out of the ground with the help of my son.

"It’s just so disappointing that an accident at work has had such an impact on my life, but I hope the fact that I’m regaining some independence helps show others with similar injuries that there is a way forward for them too."

While resolving Jean’s situation several teams at Irwin Mitchell were able to advise her including  Court of Protection, Wills Trust and Probate, IM Asset Management and the employment lawyers.

Expert Opinion
“This is a really sad case as Jean loved working even at the age of 79. Unfortunately some of her independence has been taken from her but the settlement means she can get access to the specialist rehabilitation to help her. She has been able to get into the garden even if she can’t dig things up or mow the lawn anymore, and she has been able to go to football matches with the help of her son.

“Jean’s case highlights the impact that work accidents and brain injuries in particular can have on people who were previously fiercely independent. She now needs help to do things she would previously be able to do on her own and finds this incredibly frustrating.

“We hope that all employers will take note of this case and ensure that their workers are properly protected from risks in the workplace to reduce the risk of similar incidents in future.”
Rachel Cox, Solicitor

Read more about the work of Irwin Mitchell's Workplace Injury Team here.