29 April 2022

Our client was injured at work when a concrete slab crushed both of his feet.

Our client was employed as a concreter for many years.  He was in his early 30s and in a relationship, had two young children and enjoyed fishing, going to the gym and was into cars and going to car shows.

The Accident

On the day of the accident, our client was helping to lift part of a concrete road, guiding out a large slab of concrete from the road with a crowbar when the driver of a telehandler drove into the concrete slab causing the slab to flip and crush both of our client’s feet.  He was taken to the local hospital in severe pain.  As a result of this accident, our client suffered significant soft tissue injuries as well as fractures requiring initial debridement and subsequently requiring two surgical interventions with plates and pins inserted.  He remained in hospital for approximately 6 weeks. 

Our client suffered scarring and psychiatric injuries and was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  His disabilities were numerous and following the accident, our client had a significant period off work while attending rehabilitation and psychological treatment.  He is not able to stand for more than 2-3 hours due to the pain and he no longer enjoys the recreational activities he previously enjoyed due to his limitations and pain.

Prior to the accident the owner of the business and our client had discussed him taking over the concreting business, however these discussions no longer continued after his accident. 

Our client sought the assistance of LawAdvice with respect to his claim. Expert opinion reports on liability, investigator’s statements, medical evidence, and income loss documents were obtained by our firm in support of the claim. Witness statements were also obtained.

Claim proceedings

Two separate proceedings were initiated in relation to his injuries and disabilities.  The first set of proceedings was a civil claim against the driver, brought under the Civil Liability Act 2002 but also in the alternative under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999.  The second set of proceedings was a work injury damages proceedings against the employer.  Both sets of proceedings were joined together and ultimately heard by the court as one. 

An assessment of degree of permanent impairment was undertaken and the Personal Injury Commission assessed our client greater than 10%.  Our client has been unable to resume work as a concreter and though he has been able to work in a different position in a different industry, his income was significantly reduced causing further stress. It is unlikely he will ever return to full time employment due to his injuries.

We engaged in settlement negotiations with the defendants in this matter prior to the court hearing, however, our advice to our client was that we could do better than any of the offers that were made.  As such, further negotiations were undertaken in the following days and we came to a sum that was eventually accepted by all parties.

The agreed settlement was $300,000.00 more than what the defendants had initially offered. Needless to say our client was very happy with the outcome.

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