Workplace Accident Victim Settles For Five-Figure Sum
The Law Of… winning workplace injury claims
For one Simpson Millar client, the first day of October 2013 proved to be eventful – for all the wrong reasons. A Royal Mail worker carrying out his everyday duties, he was subject to a serious injury that could have been avoided.
Ruth Magee, a Personal Injury Solicitor with Simpson Millar, reports on a workplace accident that resulted in a five-figure payout.
Overtime Accident Injures Postal Worker
The ordeal for this particular postal worker – who wishes to remain anonymous and will be referred to henceforth as Claimant RM (Royal Mail) – began on the 1st October 2013. It was evening and Claimant RM was engaged in the Distribution area of the depot, loading and unloading wagons to earn a bit of overtime.
Two lorries had arrived at the same time, with the trailers of both needing emptying. While the emptying of the first vehicle was going smoothly, the second proved to be more of a challenge.
The driver, left waiting while the first was attended to, had become impatient and, against health and safety protocol, started to freewheel the York containers – high sided, steel trolleys used for moving bags and trays – off the back of the trailer.
Claimant RM switched to the second wagon to deal with the build-up of Yorks, as the driver continued to handle them without due care or attention. As a result, the claimant was dealt a glancing blow to his back by one of the freewheeling roll cages. Shortly afterwards another container struck his ankle.
Significant Degree Of Pain
Not in any immediate pain or discomfort, Claimant RM continued to work and, upon finishing the overtime shift, clocked off and went home. It was once he was home that the trouble started.
Beginning as a slight ache in the back, along with a twinge in the ankle, by the following morning Claimant RM was unable to move and enduring a significant degree of pain. The injuries sustained from being hit by the roll cages left him unable to attend work and medical attention was sought.
The claimant's GP recommended physiotherapy, which was initially paid for privately due to the waiting time on the NHS. As the problems with the ankle continued, more time was lost from work and Claimant RM, a married man, was forced to sleep on the sofa in his living room; climbing the stairs becoming impossible without considerable pain. He also had to sell his manual transmission car due to his inability to use the clutch.
With a claim for compensation a distinct possibility, the client's union, the CWU, put him in touch with Simpson Millar's Personal Injury department, who were instructed to bring proceedings against Royal Mail.
Putting Workers At Risk
Taking charge of the case, Ruth Magee's initial assessment identified that as well as Personal Injury, there was also the potential to claim for:
- Loss of earnings
- Care and assistance
- Medical expenses
- Other, miscellaneous expenses.
A claim of notification form was sent to Royal Mail, detailing the nature of the case, the negligence that caused the injuries and listing the alleged breaches that had put the claimant at risk.
- Exposing the claimant to a foreseeable risk of injury or harm, the existence of which was known, or should have been known to be present
- Failure to ensure that the designated persons had received adequate training in the use and health and safety requirements of the relevant work equipment
- Failure to ensure that those who supervised or managed the use of the work equipment were adequately trained for the purposes of health and safety
- Failure to devise or provide a safe system or method of work
- Failure to carry out or review a risk assessment in accordance with the 'Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations'.
Finally, it was alleged that Royal Mail was vicariously liable for actions of its employee, meaning that the organisation was responsible for the negligence of the driver whose conduct led to Claimant RM's injuries.
Royal Mail Group Limited was quick to accept liability for Claimant RM's accident, acknowledging a breach of its legal duty to the employee and that injury occurred as a result. Following a review of the available medical evidence, the organisation made an offer of £10,000 to settle the claim.
This was accepted by Claimant RM, who went on to praise Simpson Millar for the level of service he received:
"Having Ruth Magee as my solicitor was an absolute delight. I never once had to chase her for news of how my case was progressing and all correspondence was kept up-to-date and available for me throughout."
If you have been affected by a workplace accident that wasn't your fault, you too may be entitled to compensation. To discuss the circumstances surrounding your injury, contact one of our Personal Injury team today.