Aberdeen solicitors get the right result for injured trainee

Man standing and looking out to sea

Mr Ewing was a Trainee Fire Protection Engineer in Aberdeenshire but was hurt after being asked to move supposedly empty gas canisters causing a freeze burn.

“Even to this day, I have to watch not to get heat on that area or it gets itchy and sore.”

Mr Ewing was off work for two weeks and when he went back, they gave him a disciplinary claiming he had broken their health and safety regulations. In the end, they dismissed him for gross misconduct.

He raised a claim for unfair dismissal and was awarded compensation. He secured other employment about two weeks later.

“I decided to make an injury claim after the way the company treated me. They tried to blame it all on me and pass the buck, but I knew they were in the wrong. I hadn’t been fully trained in that job and they wrongly told me the canister was empty.

“Accidents happened all the time there. Another worker had a similar thing happen to him just before my accident. He was told the canister was empty and broke his hand as it turned out it wasn’t.

“Another employee had his boiler suit go up in flames and luckily was able to put it out with a puddle - but it was all brushed under the carpet.”

Another Scottish law firm acted on behalf of Mr Ewing but they ended up closing his file when they received the denial of liability from his employer, saying there was nothing in his case but he could seek legal advice elsewhere.

He came to us for a second opinion.

By this time there was only two months left before the case went to time bar and he lost his legal right to compensation. For the majority of personal injury cases, the law permits victims to claim compensation within three years of the accident.

Amy Shand in our Aberdeen office, handled the case against his employer.

“With Digby Brown, everything was a lot better. It was much easier and simpler – the way it should have been to begin with.

“Amy was just super to be honest, she really knew what she was doing and got where I was coming from straight away. She understood that I was not fully trained to do that job but the other solicitors never grasped that.

“On top of this, it was only Amy I was dealing with the whole way through. With the other firm I was getting passed about all the time and wires were getting crossed, things were being lost in translation. It was a shambles.”

It wasn't straight forward as the argument was that Mr Ewing was the author of his own misfortune, the CCTV of the incident didn't do many favours and the witnesses were against him.

However, our solicitors had other views on liability and felt there was a case to answer for his employers. We collected expert medical evidence and raised the case in court.

Employer pays up

His employer never admitted liability for the accident, but they did pay the price for their mistake.

Shortly before court, they made an offer to compensate Mr Ewing for his injuries and losses.

“I was happy to receive anything to be honest. For me, by them paying compensation proves they had something to hide and were guilty in some way. The employer was really stubborn so I half expected him to take it all the way and go to court to try and prove a point.

“They didn’t seem to learn from their mistakes but I hope by taking legal action against them that it will make them see sense and people that work for them are now safer.”