Injured at work
The 44-year-old from Gateshead died from a stroke less than two years after he suffered a serious head injury at work when a colleague at Kwik-Fit dropped a tyre onto his head from above.
The head injury was confirmed to be the direct cause of high blood pressure which subsequently caused a stroke in 2007 from which he died.
Tyre dropped onto head
On the day of the accident, he was hit as he came out of the canteen after lunch. A tyre was being taken from a store on a mezzanine floor and usual practice was for the tyres to be dropped down onto the floor below.
There was no system to warn people working below.
He was knocked unconscious and when he came round he was disorientated and weak.
Despite asking for an ambulance he was forced to stay until the end of his shift. When he returned home his wife rushed him to the hospital where the consequences of the accident became clear.
He suffered severe memory loss and other problems related to his head injury meaning he was no longer able to work as a mechanic and although previously an accomplished accordion player he couldn't remember how to play. He also developed a stutter.
Brain Injury had side effects
His wife said: "Before the accident, my husband was a fit and healthy man. Afterwards, he was so frustrated because his memory was gone. He wouldn't remember that he'd just had for dinner and couldn't remember how to work on cars. He couldn’t even relax by playing the accordion.
"His blood pressure, a side effect of his brain injury, became a major problem and ultimately killed him."
She added: "He is such a huge loss to me and all our family. A thoughtless practice condoned by his employers meant he ended up dead."
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
His wife instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Thompsons was successful in settling the claim out of court after obtaining an admission of liability from the insurers for Kwik-Fit.
A solicitor within Thompsons Solicitors' serious injury team in Newcastle, said: “This man sustained serious injuries and was ultimately killed by Kwik-Fit’s gross negligence. They allowed the practice of dropping tyres from above onto a busy working area.
“Kwik-Fit couldn’t see the obvious risks or didn’t bother to think it through and introduce a safer regime. Following receipt of instructions, we obtained detailed medical and other evidence which proved that there was a link between this man’s head injury and the stroke that ultimately killed him. I am glad that this case has now been settled which now provides financial security for his widow and his family.”
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