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Published 21 October 2020
DAC Beachcroft successfully defended a spurious employer’s liability claim at Trial following a series of inconsistent accounts from the Claimant.
The Claimant, an Emergency Medical Technician at the time of the incident, alleged that he sustained a laceration to his left index finger whilst cutting a ligature in the course of his employment with the Trust and that the injury was caused by the Defendant’s failure to provide him with appropriate training in relation to (a) the nature of the incident and (b) the use of the cutting equipment.
Liability was denied throughout, primarily on the basis that the Claimant provided inconsistent accounts of both the accident circumstances and the equipment he was using at the time of his alleged injury. Within his pleaded case, the Claimant alleged that he had not been adequately trained in relation to the use of the cutting equipment provided by the Defendant. However, within his witness evidence, the Claimant alleged that the cutting equipment provided by the Defendant was inadequate and that the incident had occurred whilst he was using his own equipment.
The Defendant’s position was that the Claimant had been adequately trained in relation to dynamic risk assessments; that no specific training was required in relation to the use and operation of the cutting equipment provided by the Defendant, which operated in the same way as household scissors; and that the use of the Claimant’s own equipment was specifically prohibited.
The Claimant made no attempt to amend his pleaded case ahead of Trial.
At Trial, whilst the Trial Judge accepted that the Claimant suffered a laceration to his hand, it was held that the injury was caused by the Claimant’s own personal equipment, the use of which was not permitted by the Defendant. It was held that there was no requirement on the Defendant to prepare a risk assessment for the use of prohibited equipment or, indeed, to prepare a risk assessment covering every eventuality, particularly in this case when employees were themselves trained in respect of dynamic risk assessment.
The Claimant was found to be the author of his own misfortune and his claim was dismissed.
Beverley Brooks, DAC Beachcroft Claims LimitedJonathan Lally, Deans Court Chambers
Our casualty fraud team deals with cases like this on a regular basis. For more information or advice, please contact one of our experts.
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