A fire service worker who has been left with difficulty speaking after she was hit in the jaw by metal skip door has received compensation after help from Thompsons Solicitors.

The 41-year-old from Bedford had to take six weeks off work as a result of the accident at Bedfordshire & Luton Fire and Rescue Services in Kempston.

The IT technician had been asked by her boss to retrieve a laptop which had been put in the skip in June 2009. As she was opening the skip’s side doors, the skip’s top canopy shot forward hitting her in the jaw.

Investigations found the bracket holding the canopy up was broken.

She suffered from nerve damage in her jaw which means she finds it painful to talk, eat and drink. She is on restricted duties at work because she finds it too painful to talk on the phone for long periods, required when she was providing IT support.

She also suffered two chipped front teeth and a broken back crown. She is on daily doses of strong painkillers which affects her concentration and the times when she can drive.

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation

Following the accident she instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. Thompsons found the fire service had no risk assessment for the use of the skip. Additionally the skip was defective and there was no system in place to ensure it was in good working order.

Bedfordshire & Luton Fire and Rescue Services admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

She said: “My job involves a lot of talking, particularly if I’m on call trying to help people solve problems with their computers. The nerve damage in my jaw makes it painful for me to talk for long periods of time. As a result I’ve had to have my duties changed to take my injury into account. I’m on a constant cocktail of painkillers and I have been told that the pain is likely to be with me forever. It is extremely frustrating to think that if I hadn’t gone to the skip as asked that I’d be fit and well now.”

Ranjit Sond from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Our client suffered a serious injury which has long term effects because her employers failed to assess the safety of staff getting things out of the skip. It is an inherently dangerous thing to do in the first place but matters were made worse by the skip being faulty because no system had been put in place to check it for defects.”