Trucker awarded £452,500 after accident

A LORRY driver who was the victim of a near-fatal accident at Felixstowe Docks has been awarded £452,500 in compensation. But the wife of Derek Mayes, yesterday said she could "never forgive" the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company for the treatment of her husband and their family after the accident on December 19, 1997.

A LORRY driver who was the victim of a near-fatal accident at Felixstowe Docks has been awarded £452,500 in compensation.

But the wife of Derek Mayes, yesterday said she could "never forgive" the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company for the treatment of her husband and their family after the accident on December 19, 1997.

Mr Mayes, 66, of Stowmarket, fell 20ft out of his lorry and suffered life-threatening injuries after an overhead crane lifted not only the container on the back of his trailer but also the whole lorry.

He still suffers from the effects of a very severe head injury, which means he cannot drive, and has significant cognitive and mobility problems.

Mr Mayes who had worked as a heavy goods driver collecting and delivering freight, was present at London's Law Courts yesterdaywith his wife Anna for settlement of his compensation claim.

Mr Mayes's wife, Anna, said after the hearing: "I am very pleased that this case has now been concluded but I can never forgive Felixstowe Docks for the way in which they have treated Derek and our family.

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"Despite a number of previous accidents the docks still insisted that Derek remain in his cab. Up to this day I have not had a word of apology from the docks and as far as I am aware their policy remains the same.

"Surely it is only a matter of time before another similar accident happens. I would not want any family to go through what we have."

Mr Mayes was awarded compensation as well as costs, which are likely to total £80-100,000, in the settlement approved yesterday .

His counsel, David Melville QC, told Mr Justice Cresswell: "There had been a number of accidents at Felixstowe over time and Mr Mayes was unfortunately one of those. He has never fully recovered and now never will."

The judge paid tribute to the care and attention given to Mr Mayes by his wife following the accident.

Mr and Mrs Mayes's solicitor, William Jackson, of Cunningham-John Thetford and Bury St Edmunds, said: "The accident has been a tragedy for the Mayes family. Derek has changed from being a conscientious and thorough driver to an individual who is heavily dependent on his wife and family who deserve great credit for the support they have given him.

"The compensation will be used towards improving Derek's quality of life and giving him the rehabilitation and care needs, which he so clearly requires."

Paul Davey, spokesman for the docks, said: "We are pleased that this case has been settled to the satisfaction of both parties.

"Since Mr Mayes's accident censors connected to automatic cut offs have been fitted to the yard gantry cranes at the port to prevent the repetition of this type of accident."

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