Builder wins multi-million pay-out after horrific fall

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A CONSTRUCTION worker who almost died when he fell 80 feet from unsecured scaffolding while working on a new hospital wing has won a multi-million-pound compensation deal.

The 38-year-old, from Edinburgh, was “perhaps lucky” that he fell from the sixth storey of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, as medics were able to save his life, a court heard.

However, the 2006 accident left the injured man with severe head injuries and both legs shattered.

Yesterday, at the High Court in London, a judge heard that the man, who cannot be identified due to his vulnerability, plummeted from an unsecured working platform. His barrister, Jonathan Watt-Pringle QC, said despite five years passing since the tragedy “sadly there is a real prospect of amputation, certainly of one, and possibly of two, lower legs.”

But despite his injuries the man has “made a brave fist of the hand fate dealt him” and, with the selfless support of his mother and wider family, is optimistic about the future, added Mr Watt-Pringle.

The worker sued site contractors, the building giant Laing O’Rourke Construction, whose insurers agreed to a massive settlement of his damages claim.

On top of a £2m lump sum, he will receive annual payments to cover the enormous costs of his care for as long as he lives. Those payments will start when he is aged 45, at £65,000-a-year, rising to £150,000-a-year when he reaches retirement age.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Royce told the man, who sat in court with mother and sister: “It is quite clear that you have faced the consequences of this terrible accident with immense courage, fortitude and determination.”

Having made as light as possible of his life-threatening injuries, the extent of his recovery was a credit to both him and his family, said the judge, who concluded: “This is a very sensible settlement. Good luck to you”.