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£30,000 compensation for care worker

Atherton Godfrey’s associate solicitor, Maria Houghton, has won £30,000 for a woman who worked in the care industry.

Maria’s client, Ms G, worked as an assistant at a care home in Coventry. At the time of the accident, Ms G, along with another member of staff, had been asked to transfer a resident from his chair to a wheelchair using a handling belt. As she was holding the resident, he fell heavily onto her right hand side. She took all of his weight on her arm. The resident had been undergoing physiotherapy and had been advised to use an electrical hoist to move himself, but physiotherapists had said that he should be encouraged to use a Zimmer frame and a handling belt.

A visit to the hospital the following day suggested that Ms G was suffering from a frozen shoulder. She was in severe pain, had a cortisone injection and had to take strong pain killers. She had to take six weeks’ sick leave before returning to work wearing a shoulder support.   A risk assessment was carried out and she was told to work as part of a pair with someone and to tell them if she couldn’t cope with people who needed more physical support.

Ms G then suffered a further accident, about nine months after the first one, when she was helping a resident who had Parkinson’s disease. The man fell whilst being helped to the toilet and pulled on Ms G’s shoulder, which caused acute pain and necessitated a further visit to hospital, where she was given morphine and told she had impingement syndrome and had torn her rota cuff. When she returned to work, she was transferred to lighter duties as a receptionist and had to take a pay cut. She was in low mood and upset that she couldn’t carry on with what she regarded as a satisfying occupation in which she had worked to gain experience over quite a long period of time.

Ms G worried about her future due to her inability to do the care work in which she has experience, her lack of transferable skills and her sickness record created by these two accidents. She contacted Atherton Godfrey to see if she could claim compensation for her accident. Maria pursued the care home for which Ms G worked, suggesting that it had, amongst other things, failed to:

  • provide a safe place to work and take reasonable care of our client
  • devise and implement a safe system of working
  • undertake proper risk assessments
  • comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

The care home disputed liability and Maria issued proceedings. However, she was able to negotiate a settlement of £30,000 before the case went to trial.

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