A Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) member has received £45,000 in damages after a visit to the supermarket forced her to give up work.

The member, who does not wish to be named, had popped into the Asda store at Whinfield Way, Darlington to pick up some groceries when she tripped and fell on a damaged paving stone in the car park in March 2007.

She broke her left elbow and needed surgery to repair it. She needed a second operation a year later to remove a metal plate.

The injury has left the 64-year-old unable to fully straighten her arm or carry heavy objects. A nasty six inch scar has left her feeling no longer able to wear short sleeved tops.

Accident resulted in early retirement

As a result the former assistant manager for a local bakers was unable to return to work and was forced to take retirement four years earlier than planned.

She said: “I was only popping to the shops for some bits and bobs and the next thing I knew I was in agony on the ground. It’s difficult to believe that this accident has resulted in me having to give up work. I had hoped to continue working until I was 65 but that is just not possible now.

“I decided to claim compensation after I discovered that there had been previous complaints about the state of the paving stones in the car park. I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I have.”

Following the accident she contacted her union which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Pavements should have been kept in a state of good repair

Thompsons argued Asda should have kept it’s pavements in a state of good repair.

Asda admitted liability and settled the claim out of court a week before it was set for trial.

Joe Marino from the BFAWU said: “This case shows just how important our free legal services are to members. This member was forced to give up work as a result of an accident which was no fault of her own. The compensation received will make up for the years of earnings she has lost out on.”

Jane Gulliford from Thompsons Solicitors added: 'Hundreds of people visit this Asda supermarket on a daily basis. A lack of basic health and safety and a disregard of previous complaints meant that this member has had to give up work early. It was an accident waiting to happen to any visitor to the store and yet could so easily have been avoided.”