A Stevenage man whose right leg had to be amputated following a devastating accident at work has been paid substantial damages via his trade union Unite by global space industry leader Astrium, formerly Matra Marconi Space.

Norman Patterson, aged 62, worked as a manufacturing technician and was pulling a pallet truck into a lift at the firm’s Gunnels Wood Road site in Stevenage. As he stepped back he fell 15 feet down the lift shaft, landing on his feet in a sitting position, and seriously injuring his back, right leg and foot. He was taken to Lister Hospital A&E and was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, and later had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.

Personal Injury Specialists, Thompsons Solicitors

Norman Patterson brought his claim for compensation with the support of Unite’s personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors. As a result, Astrium has paid him over £468,000 damages.

Mr Patterson explains: “The accident wrecked my life. I’ve not been able to return to work and I’ve suffered depression and ongoing pain. I can’t work in the garden as I used to, or play bowls or golf, and I can only occasionally go and watch West Ham play – all the things I used to love doing before the accident. I don’t even enjoy going out socially any more, especially to family events like weddings. I wish I could turn back the clock!”

Unite regional secretary Steve Hart said: “We are very pleased with the substantial amount of compensation secured for our member Norman Patterson who has suffered so much as a result of an accident which could have been avoided. Cases such as this show the value of the union’s legal service and prove that the union is prepared to take on cases that claims companies and no win / no fee solicitors will not. We hope that this serves as a warning to Astrium’s Health and Safety Representatives so that similar accidents are prevented in the future.”

Representing Norman Patterson, David Thompson, from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Norman Patterson’s employer Astrium admitted liability for his accident and settled out of court for almost half a million pounds. This is a substantial settlement and one which reflects the life changing impact the accident has had.”