21 October 2010
Accident at Work Shoulder Injury: Successful Outcome
I settled a claim recently for a client who sustained a significant injury whilst working to his left shoulder. My client was working up a ladder. He was removing electrical fittings as part of his job. The ladder was defective. It broke and my client fell from the ladder and sustained a very nasty left shoulder injury.It was relatively straightforward to establish that the reason that my client had fallen to the ground was due to that ladder being defective. As far as my client was concerned when he came to use the ladder, there was no indication that the ladder was in any way likely to break. The legal position in respect of work equipment and the ladder which my client was using for the purposes of his work, is that if the equipment was defective (and there is no requirement for the defect to be obvious) is that this gives rise to what is known as absolute or strict liability. What this means in practice is that the employer who provided the equipment, which was defective at the time of the accident and which in turn led to an injury being sustained, is responsible and liability is not in dispute.This position has come about as a result of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and in particular subsequent case law that they made the position clear. In my view this must be absolutely right since an employer does of course have a duty to its employee to provide the employee with a safe working environment and safe tools and equipment and if therefore the equipment breaks and causes an injury, the employer must be responsible. This provision also makes it clear to employers that they cannot provide their employees with equipment which is 15 or 20 years old where the likelihood is that after a few years, the equipment will begin to wear down through use and therefore more likely to break. This is in my view, a prime example of what the Health and Safety Regulations are all about. They are designed to prevent an injury occurring and whilst of course the regulations and in particular those that I have referred to above, are very helpful in establishing liability against an employer, what they should really be doing is requiring the employer to take notice of the equipment which is generally being used by its employees and making sure that such equipment is regularly maintained and replaced as required to stop an injury occurring. The Health & Safety Regulations are not just about suing, they are about preventing an accident from which some people never recover, from happening in the first place. I shall comment on a later blog more on this particular case. It was very interesting as it gave rise to a number of arguments which were particular to my client who was quite an amazing gentleman, who had worked hard for all of his life. It was an absolute pleasure to act for him.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.
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