An RAF communications engineer has secured £50,000 compensation after he fell down a defective flight of stairs and hit his head, causing a traumatic brain injury that left him fighting for his life.

Rob Hooper was celebrating his wife’s birthday at a bar in Cardiff when, as he was walking down a set of stairs to the bar’s toilets he fell nearly 10 feet and landed head first on a concrete floor.

"I have no idea how I managed to survive the fall but I count my blessings every day."

Rob Hooper, Thompsons Solicitors' serious injury client

Rob was knocked unconscious and rushed to hospital where he was found to have swelling on his brain and was placed in a coma.

He needed immediate surgery to remove part of his skull to help stop the swelling. Rob’s family was told that his condition was critical and he may not survive.

Three weeks before the accident, a health and safety check at the bar had identified that the stairwell was dangerous due to insufficient lighting, short steps and a concrete floor that should have been carpeted at the bottom. The owners of the bar did not however address the issues until after Rob’s accident, when the local authority forced them to replace the staircase.

Rob Hooper, pictured in November 2017

Despite the seriousness of Rob’s injury, he has gone on to make an almost complete recovery thanks to the rehabilitation programme he had access to through the RAF. He sometimes suffers forgetfulness and finds it more difficult to concentrate but he has been able to return to full time work.

Rob’s wife, a union member, instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Rob said: "I have no idea how I managed to survive the fall but I count my blessings every day. I owe my life to the hard work of the hospital staff who treated me that night.

“I’m also extremely grateful to Thompsons Solicitors for supporting my wife and fighting my case for more than three years, making sure that the irresponsible bar owner’s shouldered responsibility for what happened to me.”

Anthony Welsh, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “This case is a stark reminder of the importance of health and safety, especially in busy bars and nightclubs which can be crowded and people consume alcohol. It’s astonishing that the bar owners ignored a risk that had been highlighted to them and which posed a risk to their staff and customers. 

“I’m delighted that Rob has made such a remarkable recovery, thanks to early intervention by the RAF, meaning that he has been able to return to work.”