The newsagent had dumped trade waste in a public rubbish bin, but plastic newspaper strapping became entangled in the feet of the Bedfordshire cleaner’s feet causing her to fall and suffer damage to the soft tissue around her neck and left shoulder.
The woman was absent from her job for 15 months and although she is now back at work, she is still awaiting surgery to repair her shoulder. The accident has prevented the woman from enjoying her hobbies of bowling and horse riding and she has to drive a street sweeper at work.
The woman is a member of the GMB union and after the accident she turned to it for advice. The union put her in touch with a firm of personal injury solicitors and they lodged a personal injury claim against the newsagent.
Luton County Court was told that the newsagent had been dumping trade waste for at least two years before the accident occurred. The court ruled that the newsagent was liable and an out of court settlement of £57,000 was agreed.
Paul Hayes, the regional secretary for the GMB, said the woman only got justice because of her union membership. The GMB retained and paid for a top class accident solicitor to fight her case. The newsagent got away with dumping trade waste for two years and it’s surprising that a similar accident did not happen sooner.