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Paralysed man bids for £300,000 damages

PUBLISHED: 14:01 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 July 2010

A former haulage contractor who was left paralysed after an accident at work in Spain is suing the company who employed him for damages exceeding £300,000.

A former haulage contractor who was left paralysed after an accident at work in Spain is suing the company who employed him for damages exceeding £300,000.

Self-employed John Edmonds, of Bittering Street, Gressenhall, suffered a severe spinal injury at the Ford Motor Show in Madrid on June 7, 2006.

His London-based solicitors Howard Kennedy have issued a writ against global communication agency The Imagination Group claiming “damages and consequential loss” following the accident and resulting from the company's alleged negligence.

The claim states Mr Edmonds, now aged 61, was contracted to go to the Ford Motor Show by Imagination and instructed to back nine trailers into the compound at the exhibition and then oversee the return of the trailers to England.

It was the job of another team of staff to load the trailers but when Mr Edmonds went to check the trailer he was to drive back to England he found it had unsecured lengths of rigging on top of the load. By this time the loading staff had gone and left without forklifts or ladders Mr Edmonds climbed up the side of the trailer to strap the unsecured load.

It says: “He grabbed at what he thought was a long piece of rigging but turned out to be a short piece, which came away as he grabbed it. The claimant fell to the floor and sustained injury as a result.”

The injuries are described as spinal dislocation and spinal cord injury, left arm fracture and severe scalp lacerations. He was left a tetraplegic, on high dose medication and is entirely dependent on others for his care.

It is also said that he suffers secondary psychiatric injuries and his life expectancy is reduced “both by his accident and by the shortage of care and equipment for his needs”.

Imagination are being sued for numerous breaches including failing to carry out a risk assessment, leaving Mr Edmonds to secure the load when it was not his job and he did not have the requisite equipment and failing to provide a safe system of work.

Elizabeth Smith, partner in Howard Kennedy, said damages could be much higher.

She said: “It is an extremely expensive case to investigate as far as expert evidence is needed. We will claim for adaptations to his home, care and physiotherapy and all the things he needs which we cannot yet put a price on.

“I think he is amazingly good and he is trying so hard to come to terms with the most terrific injuries. He is really trying not to let it take him over and wallow in depression. The impact on his family has also been tremendous.”

The Imagination Group refused to comment.

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