Leading trade union Amicus has secured substantial compensation for a member from Port Talbot. The compensation is for a workplace injury which was incurred by member Richard Howells, and was secured by Amicus’ free legal help scheme via personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Richard Howells, aged 40, suffered serious head and other injuries in a fall at work in July 1999. He was employed as a Plater by Davies Middleton and Davies (DMD) on site at the Slag Crushing Plant in Port Talbot on hire to Rowecord Ltd. As a result of the brain injury, he was not able to recall the circumstances of the accident. A witness was traced who testified that Mr Howells fell on the same level and struck his head heavily against the flange of a large pipe.

Brain Injury

Richard Howells explains: “My last vivid memory before the accident was sitting astride some ducting around 6 to 8 feet above the ground. My first vivid memory afterwards was being in hospital and wondering what had gone on. Apparently, I stumbled and fell at ground level; I struck my head against the flange of a large pipe and sustained a fracture to my skull around my left eye socket. The lining of my brain was ruptured and I suffered frontal lobe damage.”

Sadly this has affected Mr Howells’ brain function, especially in relation to motivation and initiative. He has developed a major reactive depressive disorder and suffers double vision and tinnitus.

Mr Howells continues: “People who go to work where there is no union representation shouldn’t be deterred as they can join a union independently. I’d like to thank my friend Glen Jones for persuading me to do so just a few years before my accident.”

Allan Card from Amicus comments: “We’re pleased that our member has secured the compensation he deserves. This was a difficult and serious case that without the support of his union and Thompsons may never have succeeded. The risks of litigation and the serious nature of the injuries meant that many firms of solicitors may not have offered to take on the claim. We’re pleased that more and more members are becoming aware of the superior support offered by the union’s free legal help scheme.”

William Gasson from Thompsons Solicitors in South Wales explains: “From a legal point of view, Richard Howells’ claim was difficult because of the lack of clear evidence as to the circumstances of his accident. However it was clear that something at work must have gone drastically wrong for such a serious injury to have resulted. It was on this basis that we were able to negotiate a settlement with both his employer DMD and Rowecord. Only 40 years old, Richard has not been able to return to his former occupation and his earning capacity is undoubtedly affected.”