Postman Claims Mail-Slot-Induced Finger Injury Threatened Professional Darts Career

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The letter-box flap snapped shut on his right hand, said English postman Dennis Coleman, and he thereby suffered a cut to his middle finger that was "deep and pouring with blood."  Worst of all, Coleman said, that was his throwing hand, and the injury left him unable to play darts for nearly four months.

Bullseye Coleman is apparently an avid competitor on the professional darts circuit in northeastern England, a competition you can probably see on ESPN 7 or 8 except when it is preempted by something more popular, such as anything.  He claimed his finger was cut because the homeowner had installed a non-standard draft-prevention device, which the homeowner denied.  But Coleman got a lawyer, who sent the homeowner a letter saying that Coleman would be seeking financial compensation, not so much for medical bills but for an alleged "loss of ability to obtain prize money from darts competition."

This was despite the fact that within just a few months of his darting-finger injury, Coleman was back in form, competing for a prize of 750 pounds in an event at a Middlesbrough country club.  According to one paper, Coleman finished "a whisker away from the semi-finals" in that competition, although to be honest, not making it to the semi-finals in a darts competition at a local country club does not really sound all that impressive.  But maybe his finger was still bothering him, or maybe he had post-traumatic stress due to the exceptionally painful delivery.

The homeowner consistently denied having modified his mail slot, but had offered 500 pounds to settle the matter, which Coleman refused.  The man finally agreed to settle last week for 3,000 pounds, saying he was concerned about mounting legal costs.  (That means Coleman collected about $5,000 for a cut that required three stitches and allegedly made dart-playing painful for maybe four months.)  He continued to deny liability, saying he thought Coleman had just been in a hurry to finish his route that particular day.

This is not the first finger injury to be suffered on Britain's treacherous mail routes.  In 2008, a woman sued (or at least threatened to sue) after allegedly losing the tip of her right index finger in a mail slot.  She was not a postal employee, however, just somebody hired to stuff junk mail into people's mailboxes.  Astonished by the idea that he might owe money to somebody who hurt themselves sticking unwanted junk into his mailbox, the homeowner in that case, Paul O'Brien, called the Royal Mail service to ask if they had been having any trouble with his mail slot.  They said they had not, "and that in any case [our] staff are trained to make sure they don't get hurt while delivering."  Maybe they need a refresher course.

Link: Daily Mail Online