March lorry driver seeks High Court damages of more than £300,000 over electrocution

PUBLISHED: 16:31 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:35 13 December 2017

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where a lorry driver was injured after his Hankins Ltd vehicle hit overhead cables.

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where a lorry driver was injured after his Hankins Ltd vehicle hit overhead cables.

Archant

Lorry driver Gary Chisholm, who had to have a leg amputated after he was electrocuted when his tipper lorry hit overhead power cables, has launched a claim for more than £300,000 compensation.

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where a lorry driver was injured after his Hankins Ltd vehicle hit overhead cables. Incident at Block Fen Mepal where a lorry driver was injured after his Hankins Ltd vehicle hit overhead cables.

A writ issued at the High Court in London says that Mr Chisholm, 44, had to have his right leg amputated and has faced many operations after the horrific accident near a Fenland quarry on February 11 last year.

He was flown to Addenbrooke’s following the incident and was treated for serious injuries including burns and spinal injuries. He still faces more surgery.

Mr Chisholm, of 44 Lake Close, March, is suing his employers D & R Hankins (Manea) Ltd for damages and accuses the company of negligence.

The writ says that after he had to be airlifted to hospital after tipping his lorry’s trailer in a lay-by in Block Fen Drove to clear out any grain left in it before collecting aggregate from Bardon Aggregates in the same road.

However the writ claims that as he walked near the lorry’s rear he suffered severe electrical shock and burns as the trailer touched, or almost touched, overhead power cables.

Mr Chisholm fractured his spine in the accident, and is left with extensive scarring, reduced ability to use his right arm, and may need more surgery on his right leg.

He suffers from pain, and psychological injury in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, and depression. He is also handicapped on the open labour market and has lost earning capacity.

The writ accuses his employers of negligence and claims they failed to assess risks from overhead power lines, failed to give him enough information over working near overhead power lines, and failed to have a safe system of cleaning out trailers between loads.

The company is also accused of failing to have a safe procedure for site risk assessment before tipping, a safe system for tipping including the need to remain inside the cab, and failing to heed an incident involving another driver when a tipping trailer contacted overhead power lines, he says.

An eye witness at the time described the moment Mr Chisholm was set alight after his vehicle hit the power cables.

“The driver was outside the vehicle tipping the back up when it struck the cables,” said the eye witness.

“He was thrown back and we thought he was dead. He was on fire. The fire brigade and air ambulance arrived very quickly, within minutes.”

A spokesman for Magpas Air Ambulance said: “Our ambulance landed near the scene following a call to an incident where a man had been electrocuted by overhead cables.

The Magpas doctor and paramedic assessed the man, in his 40s, who had suffered severe injuries.

“The patient was given advanced pain relief (A&E level specialist care) before being flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, via the air ambulance.”

The spokesman added: “He was in a serious but stable condition on arrival at hospital.”

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