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.

  • “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.”

  • “The Osbornes personal injury team now comprises some of the most technically adept and hard hitting lawyers in the business.”

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.

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    • "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"

      Chambers UK 2022

    • 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.

      Legal 500 2022

    • "A small but high-powered team, dealing with cases of significant value and complexity."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "An excellent firm which achieves fantastic outcomes for clients."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Really good at dealing with people who have suffered a serious injury."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "Affable and charming with very good client-handling skills."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "superb firm with consummate professionals and a human touch."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • 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.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • 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.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • 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.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • A firm going from strength-to strength-which retains its client care whilst being able to offer a full personal injury service.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • 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.

      Legal 500

    • "Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team."

      Chambers UK

    • "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."

      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Personal Injury

    • "Solid personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims arising from fatalities and severe head and spinal injuries."

      Chambers UK

    • "Offers specialist expertise in cycling-related injury claims."

      Chambers UK

    • "Offers specialist expertise in cauda equina syndrome cases."

      Chambers UK

    • "An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."

      Chambers UK

    • "Stuart Kightley is an incredibly empathetic solicitor who is very knowledgeable about traumatic brain injury."

      Chambers UK

    • "They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."

      Chambers UK

    • "Osbornes has a growing influence and impressive work load and is gaining a reputation for handling complex catastrophic work."

      The Legal 500

    • "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 Legal 500

    • "The hard-working, thorough and committed Robert Aylott, who brings significant heavyweight personal injury experience."

      Legal 500 2019

    • "Key team members include the energetic and personable Stuart Kightley who is head of the personal injury department."

      The Legal 500

    • "Catastrophic injury cases head Ben Posford is an excellent practical litigator who offers exceptional service."

      The Legal 500

    • Thank you for the hard work and patience and for being so patient with my constant questions.

      Personal Injury Client

    • "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".

      Client Review

    • Very good efficient service. Would not hesitate to use again.

      Personal Injury Client

    • I will use Osbornes for any future needs.

      Personal Injury Client

    • I don't think I could have asked for anything more. One of the best dealings I've had with the legal profession.

      Personal Injury Client

    • Sam was excellent and very professional in dealing with our claim.

      Personal Injury Client

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • As a real specialist in spinal cord injuries, Ben Posford is always looking at new angles on how to maximise his cases.

      Chambers UK

    • Ben Posford is one of the best catastrophic injury lawyers around.

      Chambers UK

    • They provide exceptional service, great knowledge and understanding of the law, excellent client care and tactical nous

      Chambers UK

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • 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.

      Personal Injury Department Client

    • 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.

      Personal injury department client

    • Ben Posford … is ‘tactically astute’ and ‘one of the best personal injury solicitors around’.

      Legal 500

    • Ben Posford ‘knows how to maximise the value of the claim for his clients’.

      Legal 500

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