Case Study: Negligence of our client’s employersAugust 8, 2011
James had recently started work as an apprentice joiner. He had been told to cut to size a number of pieces of timber using a circular saw. Unfortunately a moment of carelessness meant that James’ left index finger made contact with the blade.
James was told by his employers that they had investigated the accident, that there was nothing wrong with the saw and that he would not be able to claim any compensation. James felt that he had been thrown in at the deep end and had been asked to carry out a task with which he was very unfamiliar. He contacted Macks. A member of the Macks Personal Injury Team took full details and it became clear that his employers had failed to provide him with adequate training, failed to ensure that he was sufficiently familiar with the specific type of saw being used and failed to provide him with proper supervision.
At first the Defendants insurers admitted some responsibility for the accident but attempted to argue that contributory negligence ought to apply – i.e. that some blame for the accident ought to rest with James. Macks Solicitors successfully argued that contributory negligence was unlikely to apply here. Quite simply, if James had been provided with proper instruction and supervision the accident would not have occurred. Ultimately the Defendants admitted liability in full.
After his accident James had to undergo surgery to repair a digital nerve. The surgery was successful and he went on to make an almost complete recovery. A medical expert instructed by Macks Solicitors noted that there was some loss of sensation at the tip of the left index finger. James had not suffered any loss of earnings and the injury was not going to prevent him from following his chosen career. It was recognised however that the injury might cause some minor problems with those tasks which involve fine dexterity.
Macks Solicitors recovered compensation not just for the injuries themselves but also to reflect care and assistance provided by members of the family in the aftermath of the accident, as well as compensation to reflect the fact that as a result of the minor ongoing effects of the injury, from time to time James might find himself at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. This is what we call a claim for handicap on the open labour market.
James’ accident illustrates what can happen when young inexperienced employees are not given adequate training. Macks Solicitors ensured that James’ claim was fully investigated both as to the question of blame and also to ensure that James received maximum compensation.
Please note that in the interests of preserving our clients’ privacy, we alter some factual details, including names. The report is, however, based on a real case.