Father sues own firm for £100,000 over death of his son in building accident

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A bereaved Shetland father is seeking £100,000 in damages from the firm where he is a director after the death of his son at work.

Joiner James Thomson, 26, died almost four years ago after a canister of expanding foam he was using exploded and struck him on the chest while at a job in Levenwick.

His father Dennis, 60, is now suing Dennis Thomson Builders Ltd for compensation in a civil jury case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Mr Thomson, of Skelladale, Brae, told jurors that he did not think he would ever get over the death.

“We lived in the same village, worked in the same company,” he said. “We saw each other every day. We did a few things socially together. We were both interested in sea angling. We would have family get togethers.” He reckoned that the longest he had gone without seeing his son during his life would be two weeks.

“Family life will never be the same again. I try to see the grandchildren as often as possible. So does my wife.”

His son’s wife was pregnant with her third child when the fatal accident occurred on 10th March 2007 in Lerwick, in Shetland, and gave birth five days later to a daughter.

Mr Thomson said his son had joined the firm at 19 after working in the catering industry.

He said on the day of the fatality they had two distinct jobs going on – one in the village where they lived and the other about 35 miles away. The father was working on the nearby project but left to drive down to the site where his son had been working.

He said he got about halfway when he received a phone call from his wife. The police had called at the house and explained there had been an accident and James was dead.

“The whole middle part of the day was taken up with a lot of emotion,” Mr Thomson said.

A post mortem was later held into the death in Aberdeen and a fatal accident inquiry later took place.

Mr Thomson was asked if the conclusion was that this was some sort of freak accident and replied: “I would say so, yes.”

The jury was told that the building firm being sued has admitted liability in the action. Jurors will have to decide the level of compensation to be awarded to Mr Thomson for grief and sorrow and loss of society.

The case before Lord Stewart continues.


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