Broken hip leads to £59,000 damages for CWU member


Slip HazardOur client, a postal worker and member of the Communication Workers' Union, made regular mail deliveries to homes in the Addington area of West Malling, Kent.

Since one property's mailbox was situated inside a small gate which did not open, the postman had become used to walking up 2 small steps to the gate then leaning over to place mail in the box.

However, the householders would often park their car directly in front of the steps. This made it extremely difficult for the postman to reach the box, as he had to climb around the car and over shrubs to the side of the steps.

The postman had mentioned his difficulties to the homeowners on more than one occasion. However, little notice was taken, and he would continue frequently to find his access to the mailbox, which the householders could easily have moved, impeded by the car.

On 15 October 2010 the vehicle was again parked in front of the gate. But while the postman was able to climb around the car and on to the steps, as he stepped back and around the vehicle he caught his foot in the shrubs by the steps, lost his balance and fell.

The postman, who is now 68, was diagnosed with a broken left hip and an injury to his left ankle.

On the CWU's instruction, we wrote to the homeowners setting out why they failed to discharge the common duty of care which they owed our client. Our main allegation was that they had parked their car in such a way that our client could not safely deliver mail to the property, and had failed to heed his previous complaints.

Although liability for the accident was consistently disputed by the defendants, a negotiated settlement was finally achieved of £59,000.

Following the accident Royal Mail conducted an investigation, resulting in suspension of deliveries to the property pending the homeowner moving the mailbox to a safer place. Meanwhile our client, who had surgery to his hip and has made a reasonable recovery, has been unable to return to work.

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