A Leeds trade union member who had his lower left leg amputated after an accident at work has secured damages with backing from Thompsons Solicitors.

At the time of the accident, the 39-year-old paramedic was getting into an ambulance via a step when it suddenly retracted underneath him, trapping his leg.

He was taken to St James’s Hospital, where doctors found that the fall had caused soft tissue damage to his left foot and lower leg.

"If the ambulance had been properly maintained then this ordeal may well have never happened."

Simon Wilson
National Practice Lead of Serious Injury at Thompsons Solicitors

However, some months later he was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and three years on he made the difficult decision on the advice of his treating doctors to have his left leg amputated below the knee, due to the severity of the pain he was experiencing.

He said: “For years after the accident I was in crippling pain, but I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my leg. When I made the decision to have an amputation, the pain had been persistent and debilitating for such a long time and I knew I couldn’t go on living like that.”

He instructed a serious injury specialist at Thompsons Solicitors to investigate his claim. Thompsons went on to secure interim payments to allow the surgery to take place and then for the provision of specialist treatment, therapy and advice from a multidisciplinary team, including the provision of care and support, prosthetics and other equipment and adaptations in the home. Finally, a further significant settlement was paid to him.

The man now uses a prosthetic leg and has bought an adapted car and house. The accident put an end to his career as a paramedic but he has retrained as a coach driver with the help of specialist assistance from vocational rehabilitation advisers and his case manager arranged through his solicitors at Thompsons.

He added: “I can’t put into words how the accident has changed my life, but I can now see that I have some positives to take from what’s happened to me. The compensation is helping me to get back on track, enabling me to have independence through my adapted car and home. It’s also been a real confidence boost going back out to work.  

“I am so thankful for the support I’ve had from Thompsons, not just because of my settlement but also for the fantastic rehabilitation I’ve had. I wouldn’t have had any of this if it wasn’t for my trade union.”

Simon Wilson, National Practice Lead of serious injury claims at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “If the ambulance had been properly maintained then this ordeal may well have never happened, and the failure to do so has both cost a man his leg and the Leeds ambulance service an experienced emergency services professional.

“We were able to work closely with our client, ensuring that he had access to rehabilitation services to aid his recovery and build a case, so that his compensation package would provide financial security for him for the rest of his life.

“This case is particularly important to show how an injury which initially may seem relatively minor can become devastating to the client and his family, and as a result how important it is to ensure that a specialist legal team is engaged at the outset, who are able to secure interim payment to employ the correct multidisciplinary team of therapists, case managers and advisers.”

“I can’t put into words how the accident has changed my life."

Thompsons Solicitors' amputation client