factory worker who suffered a serious spinal injury when his 22-stone colleague jumped on his back has received a substantial sum in compensation after help from Thompsons Solicitors.

William Jones, 46, needed spinal fusion surgery after the accident at TRW Systems in Peterlee. His back is now so painful he has been told he will never work again.

Mr Jones worked as a lead operator for the car parts manufacturer for 21 years before the incident.

He was bending down getting a tool out of a cabinet when his colleague jumped on his back as a joke. He immediately felt a popping in his back and was in agony.

Slipped disc and trapped nerve

Mr Jones suffered from a slipped disc and trapped nerve and had specialist spinal fusion surgery - where a piece of bone was taken from his hip and put into his spine – but he continues to have to rely on his family and friends to do every day tasks and suffers from restricted mobility.

He was forced to take more than four years off work before he was finally made redundant due to his condition. He has since been told by his GP that he is unlikely to work again.

Following the surgery he instructed personal injury experts Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons successfully argued that TRW Systems was responsible for its employees’ actions in the workplace and the firm admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Pranks can lead to potentially lethal accidents

Mr Jones, who attempted to work voluntarily for a charity shop before being forced to give it up because of the pain, said: “I’d worked for TRW Systems for 21 years and enjoyed my job. I still can’t imagine why my former colleague thought it would be funny to jump on my back. That joke has cost me my mobility and my career.

“I refuse to accept that I’ve suffered an injury which means that I will never return to work. I tried working in a charity shop but my back was just too painful. I hope now to do some training in a different area with a view that I will at some time be able to find a way to return to work.”

Diane Davison from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Jones’ colleague was ‘just larking around’ but his actions have had a profound affect on Mr Jones’ life. Our case proved that TRW Systems had failed to make sure staff behaved appropriately in what is ultimately a dangerous factory environment and where pranks can lead to potentially lethal accidents.”