Could my accident have been prevented?
Many victims of work related accidents are hesitant to make a claim against their employers because they are unsure as to who was actually responsible for what happened; their employers or themselves? In determining liability, lawyers continuously grapple with questions such as; was the nature of the accident preventable? And did the activity causing the accident present a risk which was reasonably capable of being identified? In a fairly recent trend of judgements, the courts appear to be improving the position of victims and demanding more of employers through emphasising the significance of risk assessments.
Duty of care and risk assessments.
Employers have a duty of care over the health and safety of their employees in their capacity as employer. On a practical level this starts at the creation of a sufficient and suitable risk assessment. Employers must not only consider and take action against reasonably foreseeable risks that they themselves deem important; they must take positive measures1 to ensure they have conducted a fully informed and comprehensive assessment. The duty of care to one's employees is a non-delegable duty. So whilst tasks and the organisation of tasks may be delegated to 'reputable contractors,' ultimately it is the employer who bears responsibility for the care of their employees; even in the case of delegated risk assessments.
Risk assessments can have at least an indirect bearing upon the probability of an accident occurring since it pre-emptively provides an opportunity for an employer to militate against a possible risk materialising. In many cases of work related accidents, what may ostensibly appear to be something that one should have avoided doing themselves, because in hindsight it could be deemed contrary to common sense, a properly conducted risk assessment can flag up the hazards of behaving, or failing to behave in a particular way and ensure the safety of individual workers. As Lady Justice Hale, one of the Supreme Court's Justices, has noted; "The employer is not entitled to assume that all his employees will on all occasions behave with full and proper concern for their own safety.” Victims who are hesitant over whether they should initiate a claim should bear this in mind. The law is very often on your side and employers are all too aware of the regulations and practices they must abide by to rightly ensure your safety.
If you have had a work related accident, at your normal place of work, or elsewhere as part of a recreational training day or otherwise do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists at Carrs Solicitors who can advise you on your possible legal entitlement to compensation. Call our freephone number on 0800 587 0746.
1 Threlfall v Hull City Council
2 Uren v Corporate Leisure UK Limited and Others Council
3 Koonjul v Thameslink Healthcare Services
At Carrs Solicitors, you will always have a senior solicitor who will personally handle every aspect of your personal injury claim and who will always be available to answer your questions. We are ready to listen and to offer free impartial advice in strict confidence.
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