Leading trade union Amicus has secured £100,000 in compensation from Langley Holdings Plc for a Lincoln member who suffered a serious injury to his left hand including the loss of his left middle finger in an horrific accident at work. The compensation was secured by Amicus’ free legal help scheme via leading personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Donald Ford was injured in an accident at work in December 2003. Based at the Langley Holdings site in Thrumpton Lane, Retford, Nottinghamshire, Mr Ford was employed as a welder / fabricator. At the time, he was cutting up a steel barrel with an oxyacetylene torch when the two ends of the barrel snapped together crushing his left thumb, index, middle and ring fingers and causing traumatic injury to his left hand.

Mr Ford was taken to Worksop Hospital but on arrival, it was immediately realised that his injury was severe and needed very specialised treatment. Mr Ford was therefore transferred to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where he attended the Specialist Hand Surgery Unit.

Mr Ford underwent K-wiring of 2 fingers, plating of his middle finger and duplex-screwing of the fracture of his index finger. Unfortunately the middle finger eventually had to be amputated.

Mr Ford explains: “Unfortunately as a result of the accident, I suffered serious fractures to three fingers and my thumb. My middle finger was completely crushed to a pulp and had to be amputated at the knuckle. I’ve lost my job as a result of the accident and the resulting injuries.”

“Prior to the accident, I loved motorcycling, scuba diving, squash, walking my dogs and gardening. I’ve had to give up scuba diving as a result of the cold intolerance in my hand and I’ve had to modify the remainder of my hobbies which means they are now far less enjoyable. That said, I’m very pleased with the support from Amicus and their solicitors Thompsons; I previously tried the ‘no win no fee’ solicitors but got absolutely nowhere!”

Mr Ford suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of the accident and was left with a feeling of weakness in his left hand combined with phantom finger, peculiar sensations and an obvious cosmetic deformity. His grip strength is permanently reduced and he cannot return to fabrication welding.

Nev Jackson, Regional Secretary for Amicus, comments: “Our member Donald Ford has suffered a marked loss of strength in his left hand which has forced him to change careers; he has since set up his own business repairing motorcycles. As a result, Mr Ford suffered a loss of earnings of more than £40,000 by the time his case was settled in 2006 and he will continue to lose further earnings in the foreseeable future. Mr Ford’s pension was affected as he was unable to contribute to his pension since the accident. We are therefore very pleased with the outcome of his case and hope that other employers will take note and ensure that correct health and safety procedures are in place.”

Representing Mr Ford, Monique Lubbe from Thompsons Solicitors in Nottingham explains: “Donald Ford’s case is another example of the benefit of being a Union member when one is faced with a serious life-changing injury following an accident at work as we were able to pursue this claim through the Court system, almost to trial, in order to secure the compensation Mr Ford deserved.”