Cyclist Natalie Gallon dreamed of working as a care worker but a horrific bike accident on the way to an interview has ruined her chances for life.
The 27-year-old was riding her bicycle to a job interview in November 2011 when a huge metal fence came crashing down on her.
She was riding past a building site on Old Durham Road, Gateshead, when she was injured.
Now she has been awarded £50,000 by Gateshead-based builders BSD (UK) Ltd after her future dreams have been dashed.
Natalie was left needing a string of operations after the 45ft by 7ft fence crushed her wrist.
She said: “My wrist was crushed and I was in a huge amount of pain.
“I had five operations in total. I had a shortening on my wrist, carpal tunnel in my nerve and I had my elbow replaced by a pin – that came loose and had to be replaced.
“I was in and out of casts for almost a year. My final cast wasn’t off until October 2012.
“I had to take Tramadol and Acupan along with other painkillers just to sleep at night. I am hopeful I’ll get a job but it can’t involve any heavy lifting, which means my dream of being a care worker won’t happen.”
Natalie says her case is making the construction industry pull up its socks when it comes to safety.
She brought the case with the help of TLW Solicitors of North Shields, North Tyneside.
Natalie added: “I can’t ride a bike any more. The injuries to my wrist were too severe and the risk would just be too great.
“I was looking for care work before the accident but I’ve been told by doctors that the lifting involved in care work would be too much for me now.”
She added: “On the day I was riding along Old Durham Road in Low Fell to the job centre to hand my CV in and then on to visit a care home for an interview. I was riding past where there used to be a garage. They’d pulled the garage down and were building flats. I was cycling happily past it when the next thing that I knew I was on the floor and the fence was on top of me. The whole fence from around the site had just collapsed.”
Lawyer Katy Wilson said: “Natalie suffered an unfortunate accident through no fault of her own which left her unable to fully bend or straighten her arm.
“For the first few weeks following the accident her partner had to provide a great deal of care as Natalie was unable to carry out day-to-day tasks which we often take for granted.
“Although the effects of the accident are ongoing and will never fully resolve, the settlement payment will go some way in compensating Natalie for the pain and distress she has suffered.”
Joseph Fordsham, a director at BSD builders, said: “The site was a liquidation development and the fence was already there when we took it over.
“One of our subcontractors moved the fence to do some ground works, but by moving the fence the subcontractor takes on responsibility but his insurance had lapsed.
“Therefore, we immediately took on responsibility and, as the main contractor, the lady was paid out by our insurers.”