A brick layer whose fingers were crushed in a workplace accident when he was a 17-year-old apprentice and has been left with a life long disability has received £250,000 in compensation after a five year legal battle.

The 23-year-old from the Wirral suffered crush injuries to the index and middle fingers on his dominant right hand in 2006 after he tripped on discarded plastic bindings whilst carrying a 440mm long brick on his shoulder.

At the time of the accident the apprentice brick layer worked for PLF Limited of Preston on development works at Wigan Grand Parade.

As he put out his hands to break his fall the brick fell from his shoulder and landed on his fingers.

On arrival at hospital his fingers were immediately operated on and the surgeons had to remove the tips of the two fingers. After three months off work he attempted to return to his job as normal and over the next two years he completed his apprenticeship.

Although a fully qualified brick layer his index finger failed to heal properly leading in 2008 to a further two operations to his index finger to remove painful growth of the nail bed and in the same year he was made redundant from his job.

Index finger was fully amputated

By 2009 his index finger was causing him so much pain it was amputated at the first joint. But by 2010 it had failed to heal properly and, four years after the accident, his index finger was fully amputated.

The young man has been left with reduced grip in his dominant hand meaning he cant lift and even the smallest tasks can be difficult for him to manage.

He will never work as a bricklayer again but, despite his difficulties, he has retrained as a forklift truck driver. His future employability will always be an issue as he is now limited in the type of jobs he can do.

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation

Following the accident his dad instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that PLF Limited should have ensured the building site was tidy and that included removing anything that may cause people, particularly those carrying loads, to trip.

PLF admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The injured man said: “I was only 17 when I had this accident and it happened at a time when I was confident that I had a good career ahead as a bricklayer. After the accident I thought my fingers would just heal and I could get on with my job and my life but over time it became apparent that the injury to my index finger wasn’t straight forward.

“I was determined to continue working and was able to get my qualification as a brickie but when they finally decided to amputate my finger my lack of dexterity and my inability to lift properly meant I would no longer be able to work in the career I had chosen.

“I’ve retrained as a fork lift truck driver but I’m very aware that I can’t lift heavy objects. I am limited in what I can do. I have no idea what my future working life looks like and I feel frustrated that all of this pain and worry has been caused by plastic strapping being left around on site.

“Thompsons did a great job of helping me with the compensation claim. I’m not sure what I would have done without them.”

Left severely disadvantaged in the jobs’ market

Amanda Duffy from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This young man has faced his injuries with courage and his retraining shows his determination not to give up but there is no getting away from the fact that his long term injuries mean he has been left severely disadvantaged in the jobs’ market.

“The compensation looks high but it reflects his disability, pain and suffering, his wage loss and the fact that, being injured at such a young age, he had his entire working life ahead of him.”