Home / Insights / Blog / Brain damaged engineer wins settlement

Brain damaged engineer wins settlement

Brain damaged engineer wins settlement

An engineer has picked up a multi-million pound compensation settlement after a falling scaffolding pole left him with serious brain damage.

Richard Chodkiewicz, who now has to have round-the-clock care, was hit on the head by the pole after it fell 14 storeys down a lift shaft in July 2008. The 50cm, 3.7kg pole, which was being used a plumb line to provide accurate measurements on a site in Bristol, hit him as he stood at the bottom of the shaft. After the incident Mr Chodkiewicz, 54, was airlifted to Bristol's Frenchay Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

He had to spend more than six weeks in intensive care and the high dependency unit before beginning a year of intense rehabilitation. Overall, it was almost 18 months before the father-of-five was able to return home. At the High Court in Bristol Mr Chodkiewicz was awarded a "substantial seven-figure undisclosed financial settlement".

Following the accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered a series of health and safety errors at the site, before prosecuting the firm who employed Mr Chodkiewicz and the company running the project. Hoistway Ltd, which was Mr Chodkiewicz's direct employer, was fined £70,000.

Meanwhile, Miller Construction, which was controlling the project to transform the former Bristol and West Building into a Radisson Blu hotel, picked up a £40,000 fine. Both firms had admitted breaching health and safety regulations.

Malcolm Underhill, personal injury specialist at IBB Solicitors, said:

"This is a timely reminder of the importance of robust health and safety legislation to protect workers, particularly those in the construction industry, where serious injury is most common. This case gives further weight to the argument that the Government is wrong in its decision to dilute health and safety obligations currently demanded of employers.

"This serious personal injury highlights the importance of maintaining standards built up over half a century.

"Only this week at the GMB Congress delegates criticised the Government's decision to remove health and safety legislation, which they say will leave workers exposed to injury. Lack of resources for the Health and Safety Executive is also likely to lead to less prosecutions and policing of businesses. This cannot be good for employees or employers, as injury has a detrimental effect on the productivity of businesses too."

IBB Solicitors has built a reputation for quality of service in pursuing compensation in cases involving accident, illness or death, including accidents at work. If you would like advice on personal injury issues, you can contact a member of IBB's Personal Injury team, call us on 08456 381381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.