Miss H during the course of her employment was working in the stock room when she slipped and fell due to water and cleaning fluid leaking onto the floor from the cleaners floor cleaning machine. There were no wet floor signs, the cleaner was new and had only just been shown how to use the machine.As a result of the fall Miss H suffered an injury to her left ankle so she went to her local hospital Accident and Emergency Department for treatment. Fortunately no bones were broken but she did have a severe strain in her left ankle. The accident was recorded in her employers accident book and was witnessed by two work colleagues.
As a result of her injuries Miss H had to take a week off work and had to wear a splint and also used crutches. For the pain she took over the counter painkillers like neurofen and paracetamol.
Miss H instructed Hayward Baker Solicitors to pursue her claim for personal injury compensation.
Her solicitor at Hayward Baker stated the claim through the on-line low value claims insurers portal as an employers liability claim.
The allegations 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 slipping on wet floors whilst cleaning was taking place. 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 the risk. For instance you could have implemented and operated a system that ensured the floor was cleaned/mopped at a time when no one was working the stock room.
By failing to ensure the floor was kept free from substances that would cause an employee to slip, you were in breach of Regulation 12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992.
If, which is not accepted, it was not possible to remove the risks, steps should have been taken to minimise the risk. For instance, a system could have been implemented and operated that requires wet floor signs to be erected when it is wet and/or being cleaned/mopped.
Alternatively/additionally the cleaner acted negligently when mopping the floor and/or failing to put up wet floor signs when she knew or should have known the stock room would remain in use for staff members throughout the working day. The cleaner therefore caused the floor surface to present a reasonably foreseeable risk of causing danger/injury to other 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 her employment. This duty includes the provision of safe plant, competent staff and a proper system of work. You failed to provide these and as such 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.’
This was a straightforward case and Miss H’s employers insurers didn’t take very long to come back to Hayward Baker and confirm that liability was not disputed. The meant that that provided that the medical report confirms Miss H was injured as a result of the accident, they have agreed to pay her compensation, and her solicitor will discuss with her the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
Hayward Baker arranged for a medical appointment with a General Practitioner somewhere near to where she lives. As this claim was going to be worth less than £10,000.00 there was no need to send copies of Miss H’s medical records as it was expected the the medical expert would not need to see these.
Within a few weeks Miss H had attended her medical appointment and the report followed. The medical expert had stated in his report that she had suffered a soft tissue injury to her ankle and this injury would resolve within 6 months of the date of the accident and confirmed that the injury was asa result of the accident. It was recommended that she had 6 sessions of physiotherapy. The report was sent to Miss H asking that she read it fully and if she agrees with the content of the report to sign and return the approval form. I however, f she was not happy or had any questions she was to contact her solicitor at the earliest opportunity. Attached to the report was the latest draft of her out of pocket expenses schedule which she was to complete and return.
Miss H agreed with both the report and schedule of expenses and signed and returned the approval forms to her solicitor. She also confirmed that she would like to attend the 6 sessions of physiotherapy. Mrs H asked her solicitor to value her claim and try and settle now rather than wait until the physiotherapy treatment had been completed. Her solicitor put forward and offer with Miss H’s approval of £3,900.00. A counter offer from the insurers was received for £2,960.00 but this was refused so Miss H’s solicitor went back with another offer of £3,477.00.
A final offer was accepted for £3,260.00 and the claim came to an end.