Personal Injury Claims and Brexit - What Do You Need To Know
There are many articles available on what will happen to Britain if we stay or leave the EU. However, it’s not quite clear what will happen to Personal Injury Claims after Brexit. In this article Jonathan Thursby, a solicitor in the Multi-Track PI department, explains the most important consequences.
There are many Regulations in place that protect workers at work, some of which flow from EU Directives. Perhaps the most important from a personal injury point of view are the so called “six pack”. These are:
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992
- The Workplace (Health, Safety, Welfare) Regulations 1992
- The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
- The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
Amongst other things the above Regulations are concerned with protecting workers from defective work equipment, ensuring that suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out, that workers receive training, that the workplace itself is safe and that suitable protective equipment is provided where appropriate. In addition, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 deal with work carried out at height, such as working from ladders, scaffolding or simply where there is a change in level.
Breach of a Regulation can be relied upon to establish the defendant’s liability. However, this position has been eroded somewhat by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA). For accidents taking place after 1st October 2013 defendant’s are no longer liable without fault for defective work equipment and a claimant can no longer rely on a breach of a Regulation alone to establish liability. For accidents after this date, a claimant must prove common law negligence i.e. that the defendant owed the claimant a duty, that the defendant breached their duty and that breach caused the damage suffered by the claimant. Despite the impact of ERRA, breach of a Regulation has remained useful evidence of the standards expected of a defendant in a claim for negligence.
If Britain was to leave the EU, it is unclear how much further distance would be drawn between the standards set by the Regulations and their applicability in personal injury claims. In addition, the EU has acted as a driving force for improving health and safety in the workplace and a Brexit would preclude British workers from benefitting from future EU Directives.