Clyde & Co are pleased to report the successful defence of a claim after a site supervisor sustained a serious arm injury following an alleged accident at work.
The accident occurred when the Claimant, then a site supervisor employed by the Defendant, was entering his porta-cabin office at a site depot. The Claimant alleged he slipped on a raised weather strip which formed a threshold at the entrance of the cabin.
The Claimant sustained a severe injury to his right distal radius. Unfortunately, he went on to develop chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Carpal tunnel decompression surgery proved unsuccessful and left the Claimant with problems with wound healing and ongoing symptoms of pain.
The Claimant underwent further surgery abroad which brought about a significant improvement in his condition.
The Claimant bought a claim against his former employers on the basis that the accident was caused by the Defendant's breach of duty. The claim was valued in excess of £150,000. The case involved two liability engineering experts giving oral evidence at a 2 day trial.
The Claimant pleaded his case pursuant to the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and/or in negligence. He alleged that the Defendant failed to:
The Claimant's expert also stated that various British Standards applied to the weather strip/threshold of the porta-cabin, and that these had not been complied with by the Defendant.
In response, our Defence was that:
The Claimant's expert did not carry out any objective tests in relation to the first issue and made no specific recommendations in relation to the second issue.
In response to the British Standards cited by the Claimant's expert, we responded that these provide guidance for those who design stairs, ladders and walkways. The Defendant did not design the porta-cabin in question and in any event, the accident occurred at a door threshold, not on a step.
We were confident in the strength of our defence and proceeded to a final hearing.
The case was heard at a 2 day trial at Brighton County Court and the Claimant's case was dismissed in its entirety.
What can we learn?
The claim was handled by Paul Smith of Clyde & Co LLP, Casualty, London. Matthew Boyle of Crown Office Chambers provided representation at Court.