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Court Success: an alleged personal injury claim

At a glance

  • Zurich welcomes the court success of James Moore v Eastlands Homes Partnerships Limited (Manchester County Court)
  • The claimant, an employee of the insured, brought a claim for personal injury following an incident at work
  • A number of allegations were made against the insured concerning breaches of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations

Background

The claimant, an employee of the insured, brought a claim for personal injury following an incident that occurred during the course of his employment on 11 June 2013. The claimant was in the process of serving a boiler at a tenanted property. As the claimant attempted to climb into the loft space to check the flue, he caught his right hand on the jagged edges of the loft area, causing him to fall and suffering a deep cut to his left elbow on the loft hatch.

The law

The claimant did not use the correct ladder (extendable ladder) for the job because he stated he would not fit his body through the loft hatch. The claimant alleged that he was unable to wear gloves during the task because his size (extra large) had not been provided to him. The claimant made a number of allegations against the insured concerning breaches of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPE Regulations 1992) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations).

The causative nature of the PPE regulations was denied, and in any event the claimant had the option of wearing gloves had he wished to. The insured maintained that there was a reasonable system of work and could evidence the claimant was properly trained in the correct work process and how to work at heights.

Decision

The claim was dismissed. The judge did not find the claimant’s evidence on the mechanism of the accident itself convincing. He was unable to identify what actually caused the cut to the elbow and the version detailed in four documents varied (including the medical report and accident report form), all containing inconsistencies. The claimant’s evidence in cross-examination was “vague” and “evasive”.

The judge reviewed all the regulations (this was not an Enterprise Act case) and also concluded the defendant had not breached the regulations.

Commentary

This case highlights the importance of obtaining detailed witness statements. In the Enterprise Act era, a robust approach should be taken to speculative employee claims.

This claim was handled by Paula Rhodes in our Leeds Casualty Claims Team. Our panel solicitors Clyde & Co represented us at court.

Image © Getty

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