Gym worker receives £135,000 after falling 18 FEET through a ceiling


Stephen Kerr was working at the David Lloyd Gym in the west end of Glasgow as a maintenance technician.

He was responsible for the upkeep of the buildings, pools and saunas and in November 2020 during the COVID pandemic, Stephen was tasked to prepare the building and equipment so the gym could be safely closed down.

The 44-year-old from Glasgow had to work his way through a list of tasks designed to check things like emergency lighting and fire alarms as well as make sure the pool was kept in a clean state.

One of the final tasks was to shut down the air conditioning units which took Stephen into a hatch and crawl space in the ceiling of a club room inside the building.

Inside the space was a makeshift wooden floor but when Stephen stood on it the wooden structure collapsed – he then fell through the ceiling and landed on the concrete floor below.

Stephen plunged five metres (the same height as a double-decker bus) and landed on his left-hand side.

He suffered multiple injuries including a broken shoulder, arm and wrist and one of his bottom teeth also went through his lip.

Stephen said: “I knew I had to go up there to do the job so I was just focused getting on with things –  I didn’t think anything would go wrong.

“The fall happened all at once. The ceiling gave way as soon as my weight was on it.

“As soon as I landed I knew it was bad. The pain was excruciating and coming through my shoulder immediately.”

Stephen was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

He needed a metal plate put in his shoulder and pins and wires inserted to his wrist – he also needed facial stitches and months of physiotherapy.

The aftermath of the accident prevented Stephen from working for five months. Even after he returned to work his injuries continued to affect him which impacted his future earnings potential.

He was also no longer able to enjoy his hobbies of woodwork and mountain biking as he was left with limited movement in his fingers.

The incident was reported to David Lloyd bosses and a subsequent investigation from Glasgow City Council’s Environmental Health Department was carried out.

Sarah Douglas, Partner in our Glasgow office, looked into the case for Stephen.

She was able to recover his medical records, speak to witnesses and access accident reports to build a case and argue David Lloyd failed in its duty to provide Stephen with a safe place of work.

All this evidence could be shown to experts who could provide opinions on how Stephen would be impacted – not just physically but financially – and how each impact affected the value of his gym accident claim.

David Lloyd failed to respond to our letter of claim so Sarah raised a court action.

The insurance company for the gym then offered £100,000 to settle the case but Sarah had the evidence to show this amount wasn’t quite fair.

The insurers came back with £115,000 but again, Sarah knew this wasn’t at the appropriate level.

Eventually they made a third offer of £135,000.

Going by the evidence, Sarah knew this was a fair amount and Stephen was advised to accept the offer – he did and within a few weeks he received his workplace accident compensation.

Stephen said: “My main worry from the start was being able to pay my bills. I ended up having to leave my flat after the accident and stay with family because I couldn’t work or care for myself properly but after I recovered, the compensation helped me regain my independence and now I’m back living on my own again.

“It felt quite smooth all things considered and Sarah was great. She kept me informed.

“The biggest worry was thinking I’d never been able to work again full stop. It’s still not 100% right but I’ve managed to find another job in a different place where my duties don’t impact my lasting injuries quite so much, so that’s a huge benefit for me.

“The amount of compensation was a sheer surprise. Friends and family sometimes talk to you about claim values, like they think they know what it should be worth, so when Sarah came back with £135,000 I couldn’t believe it.

“I can only thank Sarah and the rest of her legal team for building the case and securing the result they did – and also to the nurse called Anne who helped me in hospital as I felt she really went above and beyond for me.”