Case study: Garage Worker Receives £35,000 Compensation for Slipping on Ice at Work

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Eleanor Walker

Associate Personal Injury Solicitor, Serious Injuries

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Richard was working in a garage when he slipped on ice and fractured his hip. Sadly, the injury has had a huge impact on his life and he’ll need lifelong treatment and support for his injuries. We helped him get £35,000 in compensation to cover this, due to his employer’s failure to keep him safe.

Wet, cold weather with ice and snow can be a real hazard, and it is someone’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate sand, salt or ice has been sprayed to prevent injury. If you have an accident on a public walkway, or whilst working, then you may be able to claim compensation.

Richard was injured in an accident whilst he was working as a vehicle estimator for a car repair garage. He went into work on a particularly cold day in winter, when the cold had created ice and frost on the ground. Around midday, Richard had gone on to the forecourt on the premises outside the garage to inspect a car. As he walked on the forecourt, he suddenly slipped on a patch of black ice.

Black ice is also called clear ice, and it is a thin coating of transparent ice on a surface or street. It appears like a glaze and it is extremely dangerous to both pedestrians and drivers. Slips and falls on ice can be extremely dangerous, because of the way that you can suddenly lose all footing and fall at speed – which often impacts one area of your body severely.

Richard fell heavily on to his side and was taken to A&E. He had an X-ray and was told he had fractured his hip, where he had suffered a break to his bone at the neck of the femur. He also seriously injured his knee, and was diagnosed with a torn meniscus.

He had to be admitted to hospital and booked in for an emergency operation the next day. Sadly, he needed a total hip replacement. Unfortunately, whilst he was recovering from the surgery, Richard also suffered a blood clot in his leg, a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Because of this, he had to take blood thinning medication to treat this and break the clot up – which all in all lengthened his recovery time a lot.

Because of his accident and the lengthy recovery time, Richard got in touch with our expert Personal Injury Solicitors and we gave him a free claims assessment. We listened to his story, and we felt he had a claim for compensation because it was likely that his employers had failed to make his workplace environment safe. His workplace had not checked the icy areas thoroughly or given Richard any warning, so we had strong grounds to help him make a claim. We agreed to take on his case on a No Win, No Fee basis

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How His Employers Failed in their Duty of Care

First, we investigated what had caused him to slip at work. We researched the weather reports from the day of the accident, which did warn of the prevailing icy and freezing conditions. We also asked Richard if there was any CCTV of the area he fell. He was confident there was, and he requested this, and fortunately, the CCTV was saved. We used this to prove how he fell, and to prove the presence of the icy conditions he fell on.

We alleged that Richard’s employers were responsible for the injuries and losses he suffered in the accident. They had failed to:

  • adhere to the weather warnings for that particular day;
  • check that all areas on their premises had been fully gritted, particularly the forecourt; outside which was exposed to the icy conditions
  • keep a continuing check on the area throughout the day and top up the gritting as required.

 

How Our Expert Personal Injury Solicitors Helped

We presented the claim to the Insurers of the garage, who were his employers at the time of the accident. Things became a little complicated because Richard had not pursued his claim straight away, because he wanted to focus on his recovery.

By the time he started a claim, the company he used to work for had gone into administration. But we were still able to trace who the relevant Insurers were at the time of the accident and we presented a claim on his behalf.  Because the company he had worked for were no longer trading, they did specifically ask to see the CCTV. We were able to provide this as proof of his accident.

We argued that if they were not able to fully grit that area, they should’ve cordoned off that part of the premises, ensured it was not available for use by employees, and marked out a safe walkway area for them to use instead.

 

The Insurers Admitted Liability

Fortunately, the Insurance company admitted liability for the accident. They did however argue that Richard had caused or contributed to his injuries by not looking where he was going, and not wearing the right type of footwear.

We rejected the Insurance company’s arguments that Richard was partly responsible for his accident. We argued that the area he fell was their direct responsibility. Because of where they’d positioned and parked other vehicles on the forecourt, the route and walkway he took was the only one available to him. He’d taken all precautions for his own safety by wearing the steel toe capped boots which his employer had supplied.

Richard was fortunate to be paid in full by his employer whilst he was absent from work during his period of recovery. But, he needed help and assistance from his family, which we were also able to claim for. Along with the time and assistance from his family, Richard also needed some continuing ongoing care with heavier tasks, which involved bending or kneeling which we also claimed for.

We instructed an expert Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specialised in hip fractures, to examine Richard. The surgeon prepared a report detailing his injuries and provided an opinion on his level of recovery and whether he would be left with any permanent symptoms. He confirmed the injuries that the hospital had diagnosed, and he expressed the opinion that, whilst Richard had made a good recovery, he had been left with ongoing pain and discomfort. This would be permanent, and Richard would be restricted in doing certain jobs and tasks involving kneeling and bending in the future.

 

How Simpson Millar Claimed Compensation for Richard    

After negotiations with the insurance company, taking into account litigation risks, we recovered £35,000 of compensation for Richard.

Our specialist lawyers achieved the most important outcome for him – and he was able to recover compensation which would provide him with a pot of money to access further treatment and assistance in the future.

This case is important, because it highlights that even if a company is no longer trading, it is possible for us to search for who their Insurer was at the time and still be able to pursue a claim.

 

Employers' Liability Insurance Claims – Claiming after a company has closed

It is, and has been for many years, a requirement for employers in England and Wales to hold insurance policies to cover them in case an employee is injured whilst in their employment. These are known as Employers' Liability Insurance policies.

These insurance policies also cover any illnesses that become apparent in later life, and it’s actually from these insurance policies that claims are paid in delayed claims.

That’s because the insurance policies in place at the time of employment continue to be valid long after the business they insured has gone out of business. Over the years, our Solicitors have become experts at locating these insurance policies, and helping you seek compensation.

We also have access to huge databases that hold the details of insurance policies for thousands of UK companies as far back as the 1950s. So, it’s rare that we can't find an insurance policy to cover at least part of a person’s claim.

In those cases where we cannot trace insurance for a company that’s no longer trading, there are in certain cases schemes available so that a claim can be pursued.

So if you’ve suffered an accident that was caused by your work, but thought you couldn't claim compensation because the business that employed you no longer exists, then get in touch with our Accident at Work Solicitors to see if we can help you.

 

Contact Us

Our expert Solicitors have helped many people who have suffered an accident at work, such as:

If you or a loved one has suffered a life-changing injury, we can help you get the right support and advice. With Simpson Millar, you’ll have a whole team on your side. We have some of the best personal injury solicitors in England and Wales and other specialist legal teams to meet all your needs. This should reassure you that you’ve come to the right place. Call us on 0808 239 3227 and let us, help you.

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Eleanor Walker

Associate Personal Injury Solicitor, Serious Injuries

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Eleanor joined Simpson Millar in May 2018 with more than 10 years’ experience in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence work.

She specialises in employer’s, Public and Occupier’s Liability cases where people have suffered Serious Injuries and has handled a wide variety of cases from fast-track to catastrophic injury claims.

Eleanor always strives to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients. She provides empathy, clear legal advice and support throughout what can be a difficult process.

References

HSE. (n.d.). Slips, Trips, and Falls in Bad Weather. [Online] Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/slips-trips-bad-weather.htm

NHS. (n.d.). Broken Hip. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/broken-hip/

NHS. (n.d.). Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis-dvt/

London Orthopaedic Clinic. (n.d.). [Online] Available at: https://www.londonorthopaedic.com/

GOV.UK. (n.d.). Employers' Liability Insurance. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/employers-liability-insurance

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