11 The Parks, Newton-Le-Willows, WA12 0JQ

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Case Study: Work Place Accident

The case arose out of an accident in the workplace in August 2011. Mrs E arrived at work and turned on a wall mounted water heater in the kitchen area. Upon pressing the switch, there was a loud bang, a flash and a flame. Mrs E received an electric shock which caused her to be thrown across the room and sustain injury.

As a result of the electric shock, Mrs E sustained the following injuries:-

  • Left shoulder impingement injury
  • Right hip injury
  • Laceration/scarring to the right side of the forehead
  • Laceration/scarring to the side and back of the head
  • Bald patch to the right side of the head
  • Perforated right eardrum and tinnitus
  • Hearing loss on the right side requiring hearing aids
  • Memory problems
  • Kidney damages and internal bleeding
  • Haematuria
  • Incontinence
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Mixed anxiety and depressive adjustment reaction

Medico-legal evidence was required from experts in the following fields:-

  • Orthopaedic Consultant
  • Psychiatrist
  • Consultant Urologist
  • ENT Surgeon
  • Hearing Aid Consultant

Mrs E was in her early 40’s at the time injury was sustained and therefore the personal issues surrounding incontinence and the need for a hearing aid were issues that had to be addressed sensitively, by both the medico-legal experts and the legal team.

Evidence from the Hearing Aid Consultant helped in establishing a claim for the future cost of hearing aids and replacement batteries of nearly £12,000.00

With the assistance of technical engineering evidence it was established that the fault lie, not with the water heater (as one of the previous firms of Solicitors had suspected) but with the switch to the water heater instead. One of the early difficulties, however, was establishing who was the party responsible for the fault:-

  • Mrs E’s employer;
  • The Landlord of the building; or
  • The Facilities Management company, engaged by the Landlord to maintain the premises and fixtures

Court proceedings were ultimately issued against all 3 Defendants. Judgement was secured against 2 of the 3 Defendants due to procedural defaults and the claim against the third Defendant stayed.

By way of negotiation between the parties, settlement was achieved in the sum of £85,000.00 plus costs before a final hearing at Court was necessary.

 

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