Accident at Work - Restaurant employee
Anna worked behind the bar in a busy restaurant. At the end of each shift she was responsible for clearing up behind the bar, including sweeping the floor. One evening whilst cleaning she moved a rubbish bag which had been left in the way by a colleague. As Anna moved the bag, which was overflowing, a shard of glass broke through the bag and badly cut Anna’s leg.
The first aider at Anna’s work realised that Anna needed hospital treatment and called an ambulance. When she got to hospital they realised that as well as the cut, which needed 7 stitches, Anna had also suffered muscle damage. Anna was unable to work for two weeks and now has a large scar on her calf.
What were the legal issues?
Anna contacted Coffin Mew LLP to see if she had a claim. One of our specialist Personal Injury Solicitor’s advised that she did appear to have a claim against her employer for breaches of manual handling and health and safety regulations.
Anna advised us that she had never had any manual handling training and as far as she was aware glass rubbish was always put into plastic bags and there had never been a risk assessment in relation to this task. We felt it was clear that storing glass rubbish in plastic bags caused an obvious risk to employees and therefore took Anna’s claim on a no win no fee basis.
We wrote to Anna’s employer and they quickly accepted liability for the accident. The only remaining issue therefore was assessing the value of Anna’s claim.
What Medical evidence was needed?
With Anna’s consent we obtained all her previous medical records and instructed a specialist medical expert to examine Anna and assess her injuries. The report confirmed that the laceration on Anna’s right leg had healed well, however it had left a 7-8 inch scar which was unlikely to fade. The expert did not expect Anna to have any further problems with her leg relating to the accident, however thought that Anna may have suffered psychologically from the accident.
What was the result?
Once we had received the medical evidence we were able to agree a settlement with Anna’s employer. In total Anna received £5,000 in damages.
As a result of Anna’s claim her employers have now changed their systems. Bottles and broken glass now have to be placed into a plastic wheelie bin which is emptied straight into the outside bins. Although this action was taken too late to help Anna, this should ensure that similar accidents do not occur in the future.