CASE EXPLAINED: Falling object claim compensation
Employees were moving glass from a production line using a lifting machine. It was part of their regular duties to move the glass so that the glass could be cleaned, and then passed on for transportation. One of the employees did not secure the glass properly. This caused the glass to drop and injure the client.
Employers are liable for the acts of their employees. In this case, the employer’s insurance company was liable to pay personal injury compensation.
Falling objects are common causes of accident at work claims. The employer has a duty of care towards employees and is required by law to do a risk assessment of the workplace in order to minimize the risk of accidents by ensuring:
- personal protective equipment is provided and fits properly (Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992);
- the weight of items stored on shelves are appropriate – best practice is to avoid heavy loads being stored on the top shelves;
- loads on pallets, barrels, and boxes are secured to prevent them from falling;
- manual handling training is provided to include training on how to move and store dangerous items such as glass, heavy items or hot items;
- necessary tools are provided and maintained in order that the employee is able to perform work safely;
- employees are fully trained regarding how to operate forklift trucks and trolleys correctly and safely, so as not to hit any objects (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998);
- areas where dangerous work is carried out are secured so pedestrians are not at risk – these areas include zones where the work is carried out at a height (Working at Height Regulations 2005)
INJURIES: Skin damage, scars
Accidents with glass can cause life threatening injuries and permanent scarring. The broken glass can cause severe lacerations and blood loss.
Anyone who suffers a scarring injury, as a result of someone else’s negligence, should be entitled to claim for compensation. Although the scar may not be painful in the long term, it can cause significant psychological symptoms. It may be difficult for the injured person to socialise if the scar is on the face (facial scar). A person may not feel comfortable in a swimsuit if the scar is on the body.
We arrange for professional photographers to take clear photographs of any scarring. Plastic surgeons are required to provide expert opinions regarding the scarring and any changes in sensation around the scarred area. In some cases it may be possible to arrange treatment or surgery to minimize the appearance of the scar. If you are contemplating which option to take regarding treating the scarring, we will ensure that you are able to make an informed decision.
Some of our clients need to see an expert with expertise in psychological symptoms. We can arrange to obtain the opinion of a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, who can comment on recognized psychological conditions, such as depression. We support our clients by arranging appropriate therapy. Also, we have staff who have studied psychology and attended courses that provide knowledge and understanding in order that we can support vulnerable clients (see Jemma Kelleher).
WHAT WE DO
We are aware that as time passes, you may remember less details and evidence may be lost. When you first make contact with us, we will take as much detail as possible from you, and contact any witnesses. We ask employers to retain evidence that could be essential to the successful resolution of your claim, for example CCTV footage.
We consider what steps your employer could have taken to avoid your injury. We look at whether any work colleagues have acted incorrectly, and we consider what the correct system of work is.
You do not need to worry about obtaining your employer’s liability insurance details – we have access to a database that provides details of insurers for all insured employers. We will contact the insurance company in order to make the claim for personal injury compensation for you.
If you have taken time off work due to the accident, we carefully calculate your loss of earnings. We also look at any out-of-pocket expenses such as travel expenses and medication. If someone has had to help you, we can look at claiming a payment for that person’s time.
If the injury and scarring prevent you from working within your industry, e.g. if you have facial scarring that will affect a modelling career, we can assess whether you will lose income in the future, and include this within your claim.
If you want us to assess your claim for an accident please contact us on 0161 639 0399
You can also find more information about the personal injury claim process here.
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