Ingrid Leatherdale has been compensated for an accident at school 11 years ago.
An Essex teacher, whose passion for playing music and hobby of riding motorbikes was ruined after a fall in the classroom 11 years ago, has received a significant settlement with the help of her union, NASUWT, and Thompsons Solicitors.
Ingrid Leatherdale was a maths and music teacher at an Essex secondary school when she fell while having to balance precariously to turn on a projector during a lesson.
To reach the projector switch, Mrs Leatherdale had to climb onto a chair and stand on a table - something she did several times a day because the school had failed to provide a remote control for her to use. On this particular occasion, as she stepped back off the table onto the chair after turning on the machine, she fell.
Mrs Leatherdale said: “When I fell, I expected to hear screams of laughter from the children, but they were silent. Later, one of them told me it was because they heard my bone crack when I landed.”
After the fall, Mrs Leatherdale settled the class and went to explain what had happened to her head of department in a neighbouring classroom – who she also found standing on a desk to reach equipment.
She said: “When you think about it, it’s like a comedy of classroom errors, but that’s just the way it was. There was practically no regard for classroom safety.”
Mrs Leatherdale was taken to hospital that day and was found to have suffered a serious fracture to her right arm.
She was offered an operation to have her wrist fused to relieve her pain but, due to her love of playing piano and her career as a music teacher, she wanted to retain movement in her wrist.
Instead, Mrs Leatherdale underwent nine operations over a 10-year period to ease the pain and was one of the first UK patients to receive a wrist replacement. Sadly, the operations and wrist replacement failed to relieve the pain totally and, eventually, she had no choice but to have her wrist fused in August 2020.
I have to say that my solicitor, Kam Singh, knows his profession inside out, has patience in spades and reassured me every step of the way. His support and that of NASUWT kept me going and resulted in the compensation that means I can finally be financially secure.
Ingrid Leatherdale, our accident at work client
Mrs Leatherdale, who had to give up teaching music but still continues teaching maths, said: “I have to say that my solicitor, Kam Singh, knows his profession inside out, has patience in spades and reassured me every step of the way. His support and that of NASUWT kept me going and resulted in the compensation that means I can finally be financially secure.
“A special mention also has to go to my surgeon, Mr Packer, who couldn’t have done more to help me try and get my movement back in my wrist.”
Kam Singh, at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Due to the complex nature of Mrs Leatherdale’s injuries and the ongoing medical interventions, the case could not be settled until we understood the long-term health impact for her and how much compensation properly recognised that impact and all she had been through.
“It has been a long time coming, but we are proud to have helped Mrs Leatherdale secure the settlement she rightly deserves, reflecting that her career as a musician and music teacher has been brought to an untimely end, through no fault of her own.”
Patrick Roach, from NASUWT, added: “We are here to do our best for members, no matter how long it takes. This pay out gives Mrs Leatherdale options and that gives Mrs Leatherdale long-term financial reassurance after the loss of a career in music that she cherished.”
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