Trampolines and laptops are apparently quite dangerous

Industry news roundup: week ended 25 Mar 2013:

Everyone knows that you can quite easily smash your head open on a trampoline, but apparently it’s just as dangerous handling a laptop nowadays as well!

And no, I’m not being glib – apparently you can injure yourself so badly whilst moving a laptop that you can bring an accident claim against your employer for a cool £2,000, if you work for East Sussex County Council anyway. In fact, it’s more dangerous than packing a skip with rubbish, considering how the local authority had to only pay out £1,000 to another employee who injured themselves during the activity.

All told, more than £800,000 was paid out by the County Council over the last five years. Now, let’s be honest: there were a good number of these personal injury claims that were most likely completely appropriate, such as the £240,000 in compensation paid to a chemistry teacher in 2009 who developed the virulent lung cancer known as mesothelioma after 34 years of employment, but  £1,000 for an injury sustained from packing a skip seems a bit silly, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, speaking of injuries that seem silly at first but are actually quite serious, the in-house physiotherapist for the Bank of England actually broke his back recently as he bounced up and down on a trampoline located at a children’s theme park, and has since decided to launch a massive personal injury compensation claim for his suffering. 40 year old Paul Edwards is looking for at least £300,000 in damages after he fractured his spine at the Willows Farm Village and Park.

Mr Edwards claims he was just going for a normal bounce on the trampoline and he wasn’t attempting to use it in a way that was inappropriate or singularly dangerous. Despite that, he actually bounced so low that he struck his back on the way down, and he blames the theme park for positioning the trampoline in an area where the ground below it was too close.

Now, I don’t know what Mr Edwards was doing messing about on a trampoline designed for children, but that sounds quite a bit like contributory negligence to me. At the same time, the theme park should have known that adults would use the trampoline as well, which means they should have been taking steps to minimise the type of damage larger, heavier Brits could suffer as a result of their own stupidity; then again, that’s what insurance policies are for, aren’t they?

Serious injuries lead to massive compensation payouts

Industry news roundup: week ended 18 Mar 2013:

If you ever doubted that accident claims can cost massive amounts of money in personal injury compensation, you need go no further than this week’s news!

Here’s one story that’s been all over the place lately: some poor bloke that fell in pothole several years ago and injured his head so badly that he’s now suffering from epilepsy and brain damage has finally won his personal injury claim against those responsible. It’s about time, if you ask me; the poor sod has been trying to squeeze compensation out of Homes for Haringey – those responsible for keeping the road surface in good nick – for far too long.

The injured man, Kyle Bullock, had simply been walking along Lightfoot Road in Hornsey in 2007 when he was tripped up by the pothole, sending him spilling to the floor where he struck his head. Even after having underwent brain surgery, Kyle was still doing quite poorly, but now London’s High Court has awarded him an unspecified compensation payment, though it’s expected to be massive due to the nature of his injuries.

Homes for Haringey has since put into place a much more comprehensive plan for maintaining the roadways under its purview since the accident, a spokesperson said in the wake of the court ruling. The firm now spends around £300,000 every year on maintaining road conditions to keep similar accidents from occurring, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pounds are being paid out in Essex, though these are due to school accidents. In fact, pupils have been awarded some  £220,000 from Essex County Council from 2008 to 2010, according to a Freedom of Information Request that was filled recently.

These accidents tend to be rather expensive on an individual basis, as the average payout can be anywhere from £20,000 to as high as £30,000 depending on the nature of the injury. The most expensive one was for £30,544, which was paid to a pupil who suffered some rather nasty injuries after tripping down some stairs. Other injuries costing the council come cash include a slip on a wet floor that ended up costing nearly £28,000, a fall from climbing equipment that cost more than £24,500, and a similar injury where a child fell from a defective set of monkey bars, costing around £23,500.

I suppose £220,000 seems like a massive amount of cash over two years, but let’s be honest here: Essex County Council is responsible for some 500 schools. The total damage could be much, much higher if the schools weren’t as safe as they were, and let’s not forget that some accidents just happen – still, it’s never comforting to hear about hurt children, especially when the injuries occur in an environment where they’re supposed to be safe and cared for!

Falls from height can ruin the day of any business

Industry news roundup: week ended 11 Mar 2013:

For some reason it seems like the news has just been positively thick with stories about objects and even people falling from height and causing trouble lately.

For what it’s worth, falls from height are some of the most dangerous and damaging types of work accidents out there, and the personal injury claims that emerge from them can be crippling – to say  nothing of the types of fees that a firm can be slapped with by the Health & Safety Executive. In fact it doesn’t even have to be your own employee that falls in order to cause damage as a Portsmouth-based construction company learned recently after a bit of falling masonry landed square on a passer-by, injuring him quite badly.

The injured man, unidentified except for his age of twenty nine years, had simply been walking along the High Street in Camberley when the debris fell off the building after it came dislodged during refurbishment. He was struck on the shoulder and caused bruises and cuts and led to muscle spasms after the fact, and once the HSE caught wind of the incident they more or less had a field day, dragging Majestic Construction Ltd for causing the incident.

Majestic Construction was found to have neglected to re-position barriers on the ground to keep up with work occurring up near the roof of the building, which exposed pedestrians to the risk of falling debris. The firm ended up shouldering the economic burden of an £8,000 fine, not to mention the surety of a nice, big personal injury compensation claim – I know if I was the one who got struck in the shoulder by a bit of falling building, I would absolutely sue the pants off that construction firm!

Of course, it’s not all just injured bystanders sometimes. It’s unfortunate but sometimes a firm’s employee will come plummeting down through a collapsed roof or rickety scaffold, and when that happens it’s usually much more serious: in this case, the story of an engineer who fell from a food company’s cooling unit cracked his skull open in a spectacular fall is what I’m talking about.

The forty nine year old man, whose name has also been withheld from the public, had been working to investigate a data logger that had developed a fault at the Watton-based Cranswick Country Foods Ltd. The engineer had used a free standing ladder to gain access to the cooling unit, but he came tumbling down nearly three metres to the very hard ground below him after the ladder slipped as he was reaching to retrieve one of his tools, leading to a four day stay in hospital to help repair his skull fracture.

Worse yet was that the poor man is left with a permanent ringing in his right ear due to the fact that he damaged one of the tiny bones in his right ear. All told the man missed around a month of work and has yet to return to full working hours.

Getting injured on the job is a tough thing to deal with

Industry news roundup: week ended 4 Mar 2013:

It’s tough to deal with a personal injury at work, and the stories in the news this past week are a perfect indication of just how difficult it can be.

First up is the story of a £1.8 million personal injury compensation claim launched by a nursing assistant in Peterborough after she slipped on some spilt food. Michelle Lay, a thirty nine year old Yaxley native, had been unloading a food trolley at a local mental health unit when the incident occurred, which saw her slipping on some spilt left-overs that had not been tidied up, and Mrs Lay said in her accident claim that she actually left the floor when she slipped, only to smash her head on the food trolley and crash down on the base of her spine when she hit the floor.

Mrs Lay says that she’s been left in agonising neck and back pain as a result of the accident, forcing her to not just have to undergo a surgical procedure to fuse the top of her spine but to leave her job. She has since launched an injury claim against the NHS Trust that is responsible for the medical facility, claiming an initial £100,000 for her back, though the compensation claim has since grown to £1.8 million to take into account her neck injuries as well.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has been fighting the injured woman tooth-and-nail, claiming that her injured neck was actually more due to an accident she was in at nineteen and that the hospital shouldn’t be responsible for such a massive personal injury claim. However, there’s not enough medical evidence to rule one way or another, and now the woman has to wait until a later date for the High Court to make a judgment.

Meanwhile, a lollipop lady from Wigan has fared a bit better in the wake of an injury she received at the hands of a hit and run car driver that knocked her over as she was undertaking her duties in helping schoolchildren cross the road. Karen Littler, the forty nine year old mother of four who was struck, feels trepidation to this day about actually stepping out into the road despite the fact that her injuries occurred a year ago, though the fact that she has received a four figure compensation sum has perhaps taken the sting out of this slightly.

Mrs Littler had been struck by a brown Honda Insight that then sped off. Luckily an astute witness to the accident took down the car’s registration letter and provided these details to the police, and the authorities caught up to the motorist, who was then dragged into Wigan Magistrates Court on charges of driving without due care.

The motorist was convicted, and on top of that Mrs Littler sued the driver’s insurer for damages. The lollipop lady’s personal injury solicitors prevailed, earning her an undisclosed sum that is understood to be at least four figures.

I really can’t imagine what kind of terrible person would not just hit a lollipop lady with their vehicle but then flee the scene as well. I’m very glad to hear that they were caught and punished, and that Mrs Littler received a compensation award for her pain and suffering!