This case related to a claim by a carpenter who had been instructed to perform a very specialist task using some newly purchased work equipment. However, the tool that he was provided with was not suitable for the job and the entire method in fact turned out to be incorrect and unsafe.
As a result of trying to perform the job using this equipment and method, the claimant suffered a very serious hand injury. The company had to subsequently contract in specialists who used a very different set of equipment to perform the task safely. Initially, the company had tried to argue that the claimant was very experienced in this field and so was at fault for the accident but liability was subsequently conceded on the basis that the company had failed to properly risk assess the task, failed to provide suitable training or equipment and, ultimately, exposed the claimant to a foreseeable risk of injury by asking him to perform the task in this manner, rather than ensure that it was done by a competent contractor.
Due to his injury, the claimant was unable to return to his job and, in order to mitigate his loss of earnings, he returned to work as soon as he could but in a completely different role. The claimant underwent surgery and expert evidence was obtained in order to obtain details as to the claimant’s recovery and likely prognosis.
Thereafter, negotiations were entered into and a settlement was reached which ensured that the claimant recovered compensation for his pain and suffering, his lost earnings and the future uncertainty surrounding his career prospects as he would be left unable to return to his former role in which he had many years’ experience.
Through negotiations, we were able to achieve an increase of 30% on the defendant insurer’s original offer.
This case is another example which shows that insurers will invariably try to (a) avoid liability altogether and then (b) pay claimants as little as they can get away with once liability is conceded.
This is why claimants should be able to access legal representation in all injury claims. Unfortunately, next year’s reforms are likely to prevent over 80% of injured people from being able to afford to instruct a lawyer.