An Industrial Disease Claim Case Study - Client Situation
Our client spent several years working at a supermarket, carrying out duties such as stocking shelves, processing deliveries, maintaining the warehouse and putting out price labels across the store.
One morning, he woke with a severe pain in his right knee, which was later diagnosed as a torn meniscal cartilage. After being signed off from work by his doctor, he started noticing a similar problem in his left knee, although the pain was not as severe.
His GP referred him to a musculoskeletal specialist, who couldn’t identify any signs of arthritis or a sporting injury. Instead, the specialist believed the injury had been caused through wear and tear as a result of repetitive strain.
Our client was often required to kneel at work, but wasn’t given any knee protection, such as a kneeling pad, and the tiled floor was very hard. He was also engaged in stacking shelves using a ladder with a fairly small platform which required constant repetitive and twisting movement to his knees.
Since he’d had an excellent attendance record at work and was in good health beforehand, he believed this was a work-related repetitive strain injury (RSI).
He underwent surgery on his right knee, which slightly lessened the pain and discomfort he felt, and was allowed to return to work until surgery could be performed on his left knee, on the condition he did light duties and short shifts.
However, our client found his line manager unhelpful and aggressive upon his return to work, and a lengthy process of finding suitable roles for him in the store ensued. This caused our client considerable stress, and he was told by the Occupational Health Advisor at the store that if he didn’t accept any of the offers being put forward, he may have to lose his job due to capability.
Our client felt his employer was unable or unwilling to offer a short-term solution, and was unhappy at constantly having to defend his position, particularly as his injury was work-related. However, he was eventually dismissed on grounds of capability, and has not returned to any work since.
How We Helped
Our client approached our Industrial Disease Solicitors for help with claiming compensation from his employer, as he believed its working practices directly led to his knee injury and subsequent problems.
For example, he was signed off by his GP as unfit to work indefinitely, and must take strong pain relieving medication to manage his symptoms. And while he can walk, the more time he spends on his feet, the more painful his knees become. Furthermore, he needs help performing certain tasks at home, including looking after his elderly mother.
Personal Injury and Disease Litigation Solicitor Simon Rosser took on his case, and agreed the supermarket could be held liable for various reasons. For instance:
- Our client hadn’t received any health and safety training relating to some of the duties he was asked to perform
- He was never provided with help when he asked for it
- There was no rotation of roles, despite the physical nature of his job
- While the company was supposed to complete “observation” sheets which show a manager or similar has observed a colleague carrying out their job safely and properly, our client was not aware of these sheets and therefore not asked to sign them.
Simon Rosser also arranged for our client to undergo an independent medical assessment, to identify the likely the cause of his injury. He then approached our client’s former employer to present our claim for compensation.
Although the defendant didn’t admit liability, Simon secured £15,000 compensation for our client.
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