Are You Ever Responsible for Your Workplace Injury?


When equipment becomes defective while you're on the job you have a tough call to make, do you carry on with the job and report it later or stop and report it immediately.

Reporting potential hazards at work can prevent future injury

If you have an accident at work because of defective equipment, you may wonder what role you should play in reporting the fault. This is the position a postman was in when he was injured at work and came to us for help and expert advice.

Medical Report Gives us the Facts

He had worked for Royal Mail for a number of years and regularly used a van to complete his deliveries. From the countless number of times he had to get in and out of his van, the foot-well mat on the driver's side had become worn and damaged. The mat had not been replaced and was no longer secured to the floor of the van because of its constant use.

Due to the damaged state of the mat, our client slipped whilst getting into his van and fell causing his achillies tendon to tear with a popping noise. Immediately, he was unable to bear weight on his leg and had to be taken to hospital.

As with all the people that come to Simpson Millar LLP to make a personal injury claim, we organised a full medical examination for our client. This allows us to negotiate with third parties based on the full facts of injuries and prognosis for recovery.

When we received the medical report, it was suggested that the best course of action would be for our client to receive physiotherapy following the decision to not operate to fix his tendon. His foot was in a medical boot to allow the tendon to repair itself and following that, he spent 12 weeks on crutches.

Is Anyone Fully Responsible?

Throughout the negotiation process, it was agreed that our client would share some responsibility for the result of his injuries. It was agreed that there would have been an opportunity for him to report the worn foot-well mat to the relevant person at work. "Both the employer and the employee are responsible" according to Gary Tierney, Partner in personal injury at Simpson Millar LLP. Our client failed to report the worn mat and so, had to accept that he was partially responsible for the outcome.

With all the facts established, our client was happy to accept £10,000 in full and final settlement of his claim, taking into account the agreed 80/20 liability agreed with Royal Mail beforehand.

Gary also notes that an employer is required to "provide safe equipment and the employee to complain if the equipment is noticeably defective." You should always take the earliest possible opportunity to report a workplace fault to your employer. If not, you could end up in a situation where you'll have to take a larger portion of the responsibility if you decide to make a compensation claim.

With the help of a solicitor, our client was able to mitigate the amount of responsibility taken on his part to receive the maximum amount of compensation expected in his situation.

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