An engineer who needed surgery on his finger after it was crushed by a car tyre as he struggled to change the wheel on his work van has received compensation after help from Unite Legal Services.

The 52-year-old from Cheshire was attempting to access the spare tyre for the Volkswagen caddy van provided by his employer in October 2008. It was the eighth time the van had suffered a flat and yet the service engineer had never been trained in changing his vehicle tyres.

As he unscrewed the unit under the chassis where the spare was located, the tyre and the unit fell to the ground landing on his hand. His right middle finger was crushed and he developed an infection, called tenosynovitis, which caused the tendons to swell. He needed surgery and was off work for 16 weeks.

The man has been left with restricted movement in the finger, which is also more sensitive to the cold. The symptoms of tenosynovitis will come and go for the rest if his life.

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to claim compensation

Following the accident he contacted his trade union Unite the Union and Unite Legal Services instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Investigations showed that following his accident a memo went to all staff telling them to only have their vehicle's tyres changed by mechanics.

The employer admitted liability for the accident and settled the claim out of court.

He said: "I've worked for this employer for 26 years and throughout that time I'd always changed the tyre on my van if it went flat. Since the accident we've been told we must get specialists in to change any flat tyres. If we had been told that before I was injured then I could have avoided all this pain and anguish."

Peter Kavanagh from Unite the Union said: "Our member is a service engineer not a car mechanic. As such he should never have been in a position where he needed to change his van's tyre without the correct training.

"Had he been provided with the correct training or told to seek specialist help this injury would never have happened.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”

Robert Ellis from Thompsons Solicitors added: "Employers need to take proactive action against these types of accidents. Had bosses thought through the consequences of having the workforce attend to vehicle maintenance before this accident happened they would have clearly seen the need to either train staff correctly or to ensure the workforce knew to contact a trained professional. Instead this member had been left with an ongoing medical problem which will stay with him for life."