Mr M was working in a warehouse as a picker and fork lift truck driver and whilst walking across the warehouse towards the office he tripped and fell when his foot caught on some nylon pallet banding tape that had fallen from a conveyor belt nearby. As a result of this fall he suffered and exacerbation of a pre-existing hip injury and injury to his right ankle and hip.As a result of the accident Mr M was unable to work and suffered a loss of earnings along with a bill for medical supplies and treatment.
Mr M wanted to make a personal injury claim so he instructed Hayward Baker Solicitors to act for him.
Mr M’s solicitor at Hayward Baker stated the claim (Employers Liability) via the on-line insurers portal.
The allegations made by his solicitor were as follows:
‘You did not carry out any or any adequate risk assessment which would or should have identified the risk of your employees tripping and/or falling whilst using the walkways due to banding/binding tape being left lying around floor, causing an obstruction on a traffic route. This is in breach of Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Having identified the risk you should have taken steps to remove it or if that was not possible to minimise the risk. For instance you could have provided sufficient storage and disposal facilities. You could have implemented and operated a system of work that ensured that rubbish was allocated to proper and adequate storage facilities.
By failing to ensure the floor was kept free from obstructions that would cause an employee to trip, you were in breach of Regulation 12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992.
Alternatively/additionally your employees acted negligently when leaving items of rubbish on the floor.. Obstructions on the floor present a reasonably foreseeable risk of causing danger/injury to other employees. As the employer you are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of your employees.
Furthermore, as our client’s employer, you have a common law duty to take reasonable care for the safety of our client in the course of his employment. This duty includes the provision of safe plant, competent staff and a proper system of work. Allowing the practice of rubbish i.e.banding/binding tape to placed on the floor presented a reasonably foreseeable risk of causing danger/injury to your employees and you therefore failed in your duty. As such you are negligent in law.
By failing to take the above steps and/or comply with your common law duty of care you have exposed our client to an unnecessary risk of injury and as a result, our client has now been injured.’
The claim was acknowledged by Mr M’s employers insurers within 24 hours and an admittance of liability 6 weeks later. This meant that as long as a medical report confirms that his injuries were as a result of the accident then they will pay him compensation.
In the meantime Mr M was asked by his solicitor whether he still suffered symptoms as a result of the accident and if so what are they, what treatment he is undergoing and is he taking any medication. Mr M was also asked to update his solicitor on his out of pocket expenses such as travelling expenses and medication. Mr M subsequently returned the information along with copies of his sick note and prescription charges. Mr M also mentioned that he had arranged physiotherapy for his shoulder injury and was paying for this privately.
Mr M’s solicitor asked that he keep them informed of his treatment and symptoms and will now be arranging an appointment with a medical expert. It will be this medical evidence that will help demonstrate those injuries he sustained in the accident. Hayward Baker Solicitors now requested copies of Mr M’s medical records which would be required by the medical expert prior to the appointment.
Mr M’s employers insurers (defendant insurers) had now passed the claim to their nominated solicitor who had provided details of Mr M’s earnings so that his loss of earnings claim could be calculated.
Mr M had also supplied his solicitor with receipts showing the cost of his sessions with an Osteopath and that he was now returning to work albeit on light duties.
The medical records had arrived at Hayward Baker Solicitors so once these were reviewed Mr M’s solicitor applied for a medical appointment with an Orthopaedic Consultant who will examine Mr M and then formulate a report upon his injuries. The medical appointment came through within 5 days and was scheduled for 3 weeks later.
The report arrived and the consultant stated that the injuries were as a result of the accident. Mr M was happy with the report so he signed and returned the approval form along with details of travel expenses to and from the appointment.
Mr M’s solicitor sent the medical report to the Defendant solicitors along with a note asking if they approve Mr M having an ultrasound and to see a Psychiatrist for anxiety caused by the accident as recommended by the consultant in his medical report. No reply was received but as liability was admitted and the consultant had recommended further treatment Mr M’s solicitor arranged an appointment with a Psychiatrist and for an ultrasound for his shoulder injury.
The ultrasound showed a torn tendon and that Mr M may need surgery to correct this. The Psych report showed that the accident had psychologically affected his ability to enjoy social and recreational activities and to cope with and enjoy life as he did before for a period of 3 months.
Mr M was now taking a lot of time off sick due to his shoulder and had now also changed jobs but was still having problems at work due to his shoulder injury. The original medical expert had now seen all other reports and had now finalised his report which after being approved by Mr M was sent to the defendant solicitors along with an offer to settle for £11,500.00. The defendant solicitors came back with a counter offer of £8,000.00 which was a bottom line offer so Mr M’s solicitor advised him not to accept the offer and let them issue court proceedings and let a judge decide the amount of compensation to be awarded.
Mr M did not want to issue proceedings and go to court so he asked his solicitor to accept the offer of £8,000.00 in final settlement of his claim.