Accidents In The Office
Accidents In The Office Compensation Claims
There are many potential dangers that arise in an office environment and it is up to the employer to assess the risks associated with his operation and to reduce any identified risks to a minimum. Where this has not been done it may be possible to bring a claim for damages.
Sophie Davies Partner
Industrial accidents have traditionally attracted a high profile because of the risk of serious injury and the high incidence of accidents in factories and similar dangerous workplaces.
In recent years, however more and more of us are office based, where the work is generally less physical and the risk of injury low. That does not mean however that offices are risk free environments or that employers are excused responsibility for your safety. There are many potential dangers that arise in an office environment and it is up to the employer to assess the risks associated with his operation and to reduce any identified risks to a minimum.
Repair and maintaining office equipment
There should be proper systems in places and proper resources devoted to inspection, repair and maintenance, for example. So if there are 100 chairs in an office, then one of them is likely to be faulty at any one time. That chair should be identified and removed or repaired. We acted for Mr G, a man who worked as a housing officer for a local authority. In his office there were a couple of chairs that were defective, and the point had been made on more than one occasion to the managers. One day he found ‘the dodgy chair’ at his desk and went to sit on it, whereupon it the seat part collapsed under his weight and he suffered a back injury. The employer knew about the problem with the chair but had failed to do anything about it. Mr G had pre-existing degeneration in his back and this severe jolt accelerated that degeneration, severely disrupting his every day life for several years. His case settled for £8000.
Repetitive strain injury
Working in an office can mean sitting at a computer or keyboard for 8 hours at a time. Having the body in an unnatural position whilst carrying out a repetitive task for that length of time, day after day, can put a strain on the body that accumulates over time, sometimes leading to a repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is why it is important that employers carry out an ergonomic assessment of the workplace for such employees, to make sure that the desk and chair are at the right height and that the keyboard and monitor are correctly adjusted. As with most workplace duties this is not an absolute duty, so the employer will not be liable whenever the worker complains of a strain, but it does mean that the employer must make reasonable efforts to reduce the risk of preventable injury, and where they have failed to do so, or have ignored a complaint that an employee needs an adjustment to their workstation then they may well be liable for any injury that follows.
Another common issue in these RSI cases is proving that it was the workplace, rather than some other cause, that was responsible for the injury. So for instance it is common for repeated keyboard work to cause wrist injuries if the chair, desk, keyboard and monitor are not in the right positions relative to each other and relative to the dimensions of the user. But those wrist symptoms can be hard to diagnose. They may be attributable to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, arthritis, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis, ganglion or some other condition, and those conditions are not just caused by repetitive keyboard work – they can be caused by constitutional or other environmental factors such as obesity, pregnancy or diabetes. It is the job of the personal injury lawyer to assess the case and to obtain expert medical evidence where possible to show that the negligence complained of was the cause of the injury.
Slips in the office
Slips on wet floors are not uncommon in the office environment. Where there are canteens, tea points and water coolers there will always be spillages, and perhaps we are less careful at work than at home to clear up after ourselves. Where one employee’s negligence causes an accident to another then the employer will usually be held liable. This is the principle of vicarious liability, evolved by the courts to recognise that one worker will not have the financial means to compensate another, and perhaps also to encourage employers to take responsibility for safety and welfare in the workplace.
"Osbornes always provides work of excellent quality and the advice is sound."
"The firm has the ability to handle the most sophisticated and complex matters."
"Osbornes is always client-focused and works tirelessly to obtain the best outcomes."
'The team deals with multi-million pound, often multifaceted claims, involving such factors as severe brain, psychiatric, gynaecological and spinal injury, major trauma, amputation and fatality.'
"They are a boutique firm with highly experienced partners who are well-respected in the industry."
"The team at Osbornes deals with catastrophic injury claims with the same professionalism as the largest firms, but provides a much more client-focused experience."
"A really first-rate team, well capable of dealing with the most serious and complex injuries."
"This team has carved out an exceptional reputation in catastrophic injury work."
"Osbornes has impressed me with their personal touch for clients whilst offering a first-class handling of catastrophic injury claims. The partners all have vast experience and are highly respected in their field."
"This is a really excellent personal injury team that can be regarded as one of the major players in the London claimant personal injury market."
"Osbornes have managed to recruit a team of outstanding catastrophic injury lawyers who are at the top of the game."
"They punch well above their weight. The quality of service they provide equals that of any of the larger top-name firms in this area"
Ben Posford is fiercely bright, with an unrivalled passion for his clients’ cases. His encyclopaedic knowledge of all things PI is second to none. His foresight and commercial nous have propelled Osbornes into the highest echelons of the market where they rightly belong.
The firm has an excellent and innovative line in cases involving non-English speaking claimants, managed by recruiting paralegals with multi-language skills – an impressive route for expansion of the caseload.
Great expanding team with expertise and respect in the sector. Led by a commercially savvy and business minded team.
A really excellent group of PI solicitors, notable for their individual quality.’
A niche firm that punches well above its weight in the catastrophic injury sector, borne out by the quality of work they obtain.
This combination of experience and diligence reaps massive rewards for clients, Osbornes being well known in the industry as a fantastic firm.
The Osbornes personal injury team now comprises some of the most technically adept and hard hitting lawyers in the business.
Ben Posford is one of London’s best catastrophic injury lawyers, in my view. He is a real brain injury specialist.
Excellent coverage of personal injury, and traumatic brain injury. There is a real specialism in claimants who do not speak English as a first language.
The group is noted for its expertise in matters relating to cycling injuries, and is the official legal partner of the London Cycling Campaign charity.
To complement its strong reputation for high-value and complex personal injury work, the firm continues to develop its 'excellent and innovative line in cases involving non-English speaking claimants'
"Osbornes comprises some of the most technically adept and hard hitting lawyers in the business"
"A small but high-powered team, dealing with cases of significant value and complexity."
"An excellent firm which achieves fantastic outcomes for clients."
"Osbornes Law have captured the magic of keeping the customer service levels of a smaller firm whilst having all the expertise and power of the biggest firms."
"A superb boutique catastrophic injury firm."
"Really good at dealing with people who have suffered a serious injury."
"Affable and charming with very good client-handling skills."
"superb firm with consummate professionals and a human touch."
Osbornes now has a team of highly experienced personal injury lawyers; particularly strong on high-value quantum cases, workplace accidents and claims involving foreign workers injured in the UK.
The team provides fantastic strength-in-depth for personal injury claims. It is also particularly well placed to service clients from Eastern Europe with specialist native language speakers. From the smallest case to a multimillion-pound spinal injury case, Osbornes has the right staff to manage every claim.
Ben Posford remains pre-eminent in his field with expert understanding of litigating cases of the upmost severity. His experience builds on Stuart Kightley’s running of the firm with recent partner additions of Rob Aylott making a fantastic addition.
A firm going from strength-to strength-which retains its client care whilst being able to offer a full personal injury service.
Beneath Ben Posford’s calm and reassuring presence, which clients love, lies a formidable tactical and legal brain. His experience tells and he gets it right at every stage of the process from arranging the best possible rehabilitation, to ensuring, so far as possible, a polite relationship with those acting for the defendant in order to ensure best and early resolution of the claim.
"Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team."
"They have an expanding profile in personal injury and clinical negligence and offer a superb, broad service in accidents abroad, enabled by their recruitment of bilingual legal executives who can guide non-English speakers through complex litigation."
"Solid personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims arising from fatalities and severe head and spinal injuries."
"Offers specialist expertise in cycling-related injury claims."
"Offers specialist expertise in cauda equina syndrome cases."
"An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."
"Stuart Kightley is an incredibly empathetic solicitor who is very knowledgeable about traumatic brain injury."
"Stuart is also very experienced in advising on fatal accidents and workplace accidents."
"They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."
"Osbornes has a growing influence and impressive work load and is gaining a reputation for handling complex catastrophic work."
"Osbornes often handles claims valued at over £1m, particularly relating to severe brain and spinal cord injuries and niche areas such as cauda equina syndrome and cycling accidents."
"The hard-working, thorough and committed Robert Aylott, who brings significant heavyweight personal injury experience."
"Key team members include the energetic and personable Stuart Kightley who is head of the personal injury department."
"Catastrophic injury cases head Ben Posford is an excellent practical litigator who offers exceptional service."
Thank you for the hard work and patience and for being so patient with my constant questions.
"I have found Osbornes to be thorough, clear and understanding from the initial call. They do exactly what they say they will and with passion! I would recommend them to anyone".
Very good efficient service. Would not hesitate to use again.
I will use Osbornes for any future needs.
I don't think I could have asked for anything more. One of the best dealings I've had with the legal profession.
Sam was excellent and very professional in dealing with our claim.
Head of the personal injury department, Stuart Kightley is a first-rate practitioner, wholly focused on getting his client the best outcome in a pragmatic, sensible and consensual manner.
As a real specialist in spinal cord injuries, Ben Posford is always looking at new angles on how to maximise his cases.
Ben Posford is one of the best catastrophic injury lawyers around.
They provide exceptional service, great knowledge and understanding of the law, excellent client care and tactical nous
Stuart Kightley is praised for his expertise in catastrophic and fatal claims. Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team.
My claim was dealt with efficiently and professionally. Communication was excellent, and timely. Shrewd and sound advice was provided at every stage of the claim from beginning through to completion. On the basis of my personal experience I would strongly recommend Osbornes.
I just wish to thank you for your hard work and successful outcome. I am pleased with the result and would recommend you and your firm to anyone in the future.
Ben Posford … is ‘tactically astute’ and ‘one of the best personal injury solicitors around’.
Ben Posford ‘knows how to maximise the value of the claim for his clients’.
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Rob Aylott Partner
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