A Lewisham Council employee has secured over £12,000 in damages following an accident at work which has left him with a ‘mechanical back’.  Leading trade union UNISON secured the compensation for member Craig Lewis via their free legal help scheme with personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Mr Lewis, from Bromley, Kent, works as a premises officer for Lewisham Council and is a longstanding employee.  On the day of the accident in September 2004, Mr Lewis had set up a media room for a conference and was waiting for someone to arrive so he could show them how to use the equipment.  He sat in a colleague’s chair and leant against the backrest in the normal way.   The spine of the backrest snapped causing him to suddenly fall backwards.  The broken spine of the chair impacted with his spine.

Mr Lewis explains: “I was off work over 3 months; I couldn’t walk.  At first I didn’t appreciate how serious the injury was.  Even after I returned to work, I have had to have more time off than I normally would due to ongoing back problems. Following an MRI scan in October last year, I’ve been told that I have “mechanical” back and that it is likely to be problematic in the long term, but especially if I carry on doing work that involves lifting and carrying.”  

Compensation for Injury, Care and Assistance

Vicky Easton, Regional Head of Local Government at UNISON said: “We are pleased with the result of Craig Lewis’ case.  This is an employee with over 20 years service who is now having to look for a new – less manual - role within the council because of his recurring back pain.  The compensation is therefore wholly justified.”

Commenting, Mr Lewis’ representative Kim Bouwer at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Clearly employers need to take responsibility for their staff and ensure that measures are in place to avoid such injuries.  The amount secured will compensate Mr Lewis for his injury, the care and assistance he has needed in his day to day life, and the loss of earnings resulting from lost overtime due to his illness absence and subsequent difficulties.”