A healthcare assistant who ended up having knee surgery after falling in the hospital grounds has received £10,000 in compensation after help from her trade union. 

The 63-year-old from Colchester was walking from the staff car park to the entrance of Colchester General Hospital on the evening of the accident in May 2010.

She was due to start her shift but instead ended up in accident and emergency. 

The path from the car park to the hospital was in such a poor state of repair it was unsafe to walk on and the most direct route to the entrance was fenced off for building works. As a result she was forced to take an alternative route across a grassy area. 

Her heel fell in a six inch hole, causing her to twist her left knee and to tear her meniscus. She ended up needing surgery on the knee and had to take three months off work. 

After extensive physiotherapy her knee is more or less back to normal but whilst recovering she was unable to bear weight, play with her grandchildren or walk her dog.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident she contacted her trade union, UNISON, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim from compensation. 

Thompsons argued that the original pathway shouldn't have been left to deteriorate so as to be unusable and whilst the works to the area outside the hospital entrance were being carried out an alternative walkway should have been clearly marked. 

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Clearly marked walkways to and from buildings is a fairly basic requirement for employers

The UNISON member said: “Before this accident I’d always been fit and healthy. I was sure-footed and enjoyed being active with my grandchildren. The fall knocked my confidence. I was in a great deal of pain for a number of months afterwards and really worried that I’d never get back to the way I was. 

“I decided to pursue compensation because I missed so much time off work and lost a lot of money but also felt that the hospital had shown no consideration for the staff who had no choice but to use that car park."

Glyn Hawker from UNISON added: “Our member sadly ended up suffering a painful injury, and was forced to take three months off work after she was injured on hospital grounds. The hospital clearly did not think about how staff would get from the car park whilst building works were going on which caused the most direct route to the hospital entrance to be blocked. This accident could and should have been avoided.”

Samantha Vallis from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Clearly marked walkways to and from buildings is a fairly basic requirement for employers. A very basic risk assessment of the situation which would have highlighted the need for an alternative pathway.”