A GMB member and former Labour Party employee from Gateshead has secured £25,000 compensation from Newcastle City Council following an accident on his motor scooter caused by a poorly fitted drain cover.

At the time of the accident in February 2005, Bob Dixon was employed as an Outbound Communications Agent by the Labour Party, based at Gosforth.  He was on his way home from work and was driving his scooter at approximately 25-30mph on a public highway - the B1318 - a major road immediately outside Newcastle Civic Centre, when he hit the drain cover. 

Mr Dixon explains: “When my scooter hit the drain cover, I instantly fell off and it landed right on top of me.   The pain was excruciating.  I was rushed to Newcastle General Hospital and suffered a fractured right tibia and rib, as well as shock.  I’ve had to have a steel plate inserted into my right leg and my medical treatment is still ongoing.  Sadly I had to leave my job at the Labour Party and it was 7 months before I was capable of working again.  I’m now employed as a welder.”

At a Council inspection in July 2006, the drain cover which Mr Dixon hit was reported as being depressed by 53mm.  The Council however maintained that this was not dangerous and also that at the last highway inspection prior to the accident on 6 February 2005, no dangerous defect was present.   GMB Northern, supported by Thompsons Solicitors, pursued the claim against Newcastle City Council alleging a breach of the duty of care under the Highways Act 1982. The City Council denied negligence but subsequently settled the case for £25,000.  The drain cover is still in the same condition to date.

Tom Brennan from GMB Northern comments:  “We’re pleased with the compensation Bob Dixon has secured. Newcastle City Council clearly breached its duty of care under the Highways Act 1982, causing injury and loss of earnings to our member.”

David Mole from Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle comments: “As a result of the accident, Bob Dixon sustained very serious injuries.  He had to leave his position at the Labour Party and it was 7 months before he was fit enough to work again during which time he suffered a significant loss of earnings.  The compensation is therefore welcome and wholly justified.”