Finger and thumb amputated after work accident
Our client had his finger and thumb amputated after an accident at work in Scotland involving a table saw in which his supervisor had removed the safety guard. Read how we fought for our client to get the compensation he deserved.
15 June 2021
David* was working as a carpenter in a workshop in Scotland when he suffered a serious injury to his hand as a result of the workshop coordinator removing a guard from a table saw.
The power switch was underneath the table and not readily accessible. The guard had been removed in an attempt to carry out a repair, but once the repair was complete, the workshop coordinator didn't return the guard but told David that the table saw could be used without the guard.
David was working on building a large toy box on the day of the accident. He switched on the table saw and tried a test cut. He reached to pick up a piece of wood, and suddenly his hand came into contact with the unguarded blade of the table saw, causing severe injuries to his left thumb and index finger which were sadly later amputated.
David contacted Slater and Gordon and we started work on the case straightaway. His employers admitted fault but pled contributory negligence (meaning they partly blamed David for the accident), as they said that David failed to watch where he was placing his hand when using the table saw.
Our accident at work specialists argued that this wasn't the case and the accident occurred as a result of “momentary inadvertence”. The law is clear that contributory fault should not be found in cases of momentary inadvertence. The argument against finding contributory negligence for such cases is even stronger if the employer is under a relevant statutory duty, even though it no longer gives rise to a direct cause of action.
In considering issues of contributory fault, all circumstances must be taken into account. In this case, it was David's supervisor, the coordinator of the workshop, who removed the guard, who failed to replace the guard and who told David to get on with his work without the guard in place. These were the findings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
David had completed a National Certificate in Furniture, Design and Craft and a HND in furniture and design prior to the accident. He had a promising career ahead of him and as a result of his disability was unable to pursue this. David was assessed by the DWP and they found him to be 45% disabled.
Two days before the case was due to proceed court, David's employers withdrew their argument of contributory negligence and the case settled on the basis that David's employers were 100% at fault for his accident.
We were then able to successfully settle the case on David's behalf, who received the compensation he deserved. This will allow David to move on from his ordeal and get the treatment, aids and specialist equipment he needs now and in the future to return to living independently.
*Client's name changed for the purpose of anonymity.