On the day of the accident Mr P was given a grinder by his supervisor to smooth off the edges of a piece of metal. Mr p was using the grinder as instructed and was running along the line of metal when the grinder jolted and as there was no guard on the back of the grinder his left dominant hand came into contact with the rotating part of the grinder mechanism causing him personal injury.
Hayward Baker solicitors were instructed to deal with Mr P’s claim for compensation. The reason that Mr P’s employers were being blamed for the accident was as follows:
‘The accident was caused by the Defendant’s breach of statutory duty and/or negligence and /or that of its employees or agents acting in the course of their employment.
a) Negligently or in breach of reg.11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, failing to take any effective measures to prevent access to the dangerous part of the machine
b) Negligently, or in breach of reg 11.(2) of the regulations, failing to ensure that a fixed guard or other protective device was provided for the protection of the Claimant, and in particular by failing to cause the dangerous part of the machine to be guarded securely or at all
c) Exposing the Claimant to a risk of injury of which they knew or ought to have known.
d) Providing the Claimant with unsafe plant and equipment
e) Failing to institute or enforce any or any adequate system of inspection or maintenance of the machine whereby the missing guard might have been detected and the same remedied before the Claimant’s accident
f) Causing, permitting, requiring or suffering the machine to be operated without any adequate guards
g) Causing, permitting, requiring or suffering the Claimant to work as above when it was unsafe so to do
h) Providing for use by the Claimant the above equipment which was defective and to the extent to which that may be necessary the Claimant will rely upon the Employers Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969 by which the fault of any third party is deemed to be attributable to the negligence of this Defendant. ‘
The insurers dealing with Mr P’s employers side of the claim denied liability for the accident as they insist a guard was in place at all time and even when this is in place half the grinder would show but Mr P was holding the grinder one handed and towards his other hand and caused the accident himself.
Mr P insisted that there was no guard and could supply a photograph taken post accident showing this to be the case.
The insurers defending this case still maintained that there was a guard in place and the photograph was not accepted by their client Mr P’s employers.
Mr P in the interim had attended two medical examinations regarding his injury and the consultant formulated two reports stating that the injuries he had were consistent with the material accident. These reports were sent to Mr P for approval along with an out of pocket expenses questionnaire. Both were approved by Mr P as being correct and an authority to approve the same was signed by Mr P and sent to his solicitor.
Mr P’s solicitor at Hayward Baker sent the reports and schedule of expenses to the defendant insurers along with a letter stating:
‘We note that liability is denied. We understand that your insured do not accept that there was a guard on the grinder in question. For the avoidance of doubt is your insured position that the photograph provided by our client is not of a grinder belonging to your insured, or is it that they accept that the photograph does show their equipment but that this was not the grinder being used by our client on the day of accident? When discussing with your insured you may wish to remind them of the consequences of providing a false statement.’
A letter saying that they would seek further instructions from their client was received from the insurers. On the same day a letter was received by solicitors nominated to take over the claim from the defendant insurers was received should the matter now go to court.
After receiving telephone calls from Mr P’s solicitor to clarify their position on the grinder and subsequent liability the insurers stated they would agree to a settlement figure of £2500.00 but with out admission of liability.
This offer was accepted by Mr P and the case settled for the said amount.