A father who suffered devastating injuries when he was run over by a car transporter has been awarded a six-figure sum in compensation.
David Ritchie was working as a HGV driver for Autologic when the accident happened, on 1 February 2012. He was among several other drivers who were loading cars onto large transporter vehicles at the Nissan site in Washington. He noticed that the chock he needed to secure the eighth car onto the transporter had dropped beneath his vehicle, so he got down on his knees to get a better look. He was unable to see the chock, and so lay down on his side to reach underneath the vehicle. As he did so, a colleague who had been loading cars onto his own transporter pulled away, running over and crushing Mr Ritchie’s left ankle and foot.
Mr Ritchie had to undergo surgery, physiotherapy and counselling following the accident, and he has been told that he will never be able to work as a HGV driver again. Nearly two years on, he is still not able to stand or drive for long periods, and his left foot remains swollen to two sizes larger than the right foot. This means that for every pair of shoes he buys, he has to buy another pair in a larger size to fit his injured foot.
Mr Ritchie was supported in his claim for personal injury against his employer by his union, Unite. They referred him to Kirsten Scott at Beecham Peacock Solicitors, who won his case for him. Because he accessed legal help through his union, he was able to keep every penny of his compensation, rather than having to pay solicitors’ fees.
Mr Ritchie, whose son Joshua was only five at the time of the accident, says the worst part of the experience has been missing out on activities with his son.
He said: “I do feel as though I’m missing out on normal father-son activities like playing football and things like that. Before the accident I used to love going skiing, and I was looking forward to doing that wish Joshua one day, but sadly that will never happen.
“Kirsten and everyone at Beecham Peacock have been wonderful, absolutely spot-on. It has been a very difficult time for me, and Kirsten always had time to answer any questions I had, no matter how silly. I really appreciated her support and professionalism.”
Karen Reay, regional secretary for Unite, said: “Mr Ritchie has suffered terrible losses as a result of this accident. No amount of money could compensate him for what he has been through, but I am very pleased that we were able to help.”