Compensate funding means access to justice for client injured at work

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Digby Brown Solicitor Neil Davidson describes how our Compensate funding and insurance package helped a client injured in Inverness access justice and obtain fair compensation.

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A client, from Inverness, was injured as a result of a fall she had at her work. She worked for a large company in Inverness, and within the factory her employers had installed a new type of flooring. A matter of weeks after the flooring was installed, our client was walking along a corridor with the new flooring underfoot, she slipped and suffered a very serious fracture to her elbow. She was virtually housebound for approximately six months. She required a further operation to improve her range of movement in her elbow. She was left with a restricted range of movement and relied upon family to help her with day to day chores such as housework and even washing and drying herself.

She came to Digby Brown seeking our assistance with a personal injury claim. When colleagues at her work heard about her claim, it transpired that numerous other employees had suffered similar, less serious falls on the surface and had raised concerns with her employers.

We commenced our investigations and this confirmed that another colleague had been injured as a result of a similar fall and a report had been issued to the Health and Safety Executive. The client's employers, and principally, their insurers were obstructive in our efforts to obtain information. They provided slip test results, carried out by the flooring manufacturers, which showed that apparently the flooring was safe. The view of the employers, and the insurers, was that no negligence could be proven.

Following the client's accident, a safety footwear system was brought in only in areas of the factory where the flooring was laid. Access to the areas where the new flooring was installed was restricted. Warning signs were erected. Her employers and the insurers continued to deny liability. With no information forthcoming in relation to other incidents, and fellow colleagues reluctant to come forward to assist the pursuer, we made an application at Inverness Sheriff Court for access to accident reports, submitted to the client's employers, involving slips, trips and falls from the date of the installation of the flooring onwards.

Our application was a success and showed that there had been 13 similar incidents in the 6 months following the installation of the flooring. The client's employers were unwilling to release the information to us. With the benefit of Compensate funding, we raised an action in the Court of Session, and instructed a very expensive expert report from an engineer who specialised in the installation of flooring, and specifically, slip resistance.

During the Court process, the client's employers twice tried to have the case thrown out. Through our expertise, we were able to argue that the client's employers did have a case to answer. Matters progressed and through our dedication to the client's case, slowly witnesses began to come forward in support of her claim. The engineer concluded that the flooring was not safe, and was particularly dangerous in wet / dusty conditions.

Given the history of the case, and the client having been essentially accused of causing the accident herself by wearing a pair of heels to work (which was untrue) - this represented a very satisfactory result for the client and highlighted that through expertise, and perseverance, not to mention the funding of Compensate who paid out approximately £13,000 in outlays, a case whereby an insurance company denies liability, does not necessarily render it as having no prospects of success

Without the funding of Compensate, the pursuer simply could not have afforded to run the action, and obtain the eventual settlement.

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