A council worker, who suffered a strain injury to his hip and groin which led to his early retirement after falling out of a vehicle at work, has been compensated with the help of UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors.

Kevin Smith, 60, was given a new vehicle to carry out his work as a stonemason in parks and cemeteries for Leeds City Council, but the vehicle’s steering wheel was positioned so close to the driver’s seat that it made getting in and out very difficult.

On the day of the accident, Kevin, whose employer knew he had a pre-existing back problem, was trying to get out of the vehicle when his foot got trapped and he fell out of the van, straining his hip and groin.

Kevin had asked his employer to change the vehicle on a number of occasions explaining that he was finding it painful to use, but he was told that it would not be changed.

The initial diagnosis after the accident was a groin injury but the accident also caused the premature onset of arthritis in his left hip. After various spells of time away from work, Kevin eventually took redundancy.

Kevin contacted his trade union, UNISON, who advised Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Kevin said: “I feel like I can’t do anything anymore. I used to help out at a local rugby club and enjoyed being out and about with family and friends, now I’m reliant on a stick. I struggle to leave my house and feel like I’ve lost my independence.

“The council seemed completely unconcerned about the health and safety of its employees. Former colleagues of mine had also made complaints but all too often they fell on deaf ears.”

Laura Morris, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “If an employee makes a complaint about their working conditions, an employer should acknowledge this and investigate whether there is an alternative so that staff can do the best job possible. Kevin’s employer ignored him and that has cost him his health, financial stability and personal freedom.”