Supermarket Accident News

Judge Divides Liability for Taxi Injury

A judge in London’s High Court has split the liability for a taxi accident that came about because the taxi driver believed that his passenger was trying to avoid paying the fare.

The accident occurred in November 2010 when Kristopher Hicks was travelling home from an evening out with his girlfriend, Abigail Noad. The couple took a taxi, driven by Michael Young, together from the Abbey Taxi Rank in Bath.

Upon their arrival in Queen’s Drive, where they live, Abigail alighted from the care. However, before Kristopher could also get out, Young began to drive away. Later, he explained that this was because he believed that the couple were going to “do a runner” and avoid paying his fare.

Young had driven for less than a mile before Kristopher jumped from the vehicle as it was moving. However, as a consequence of his collision with the road, he sustained severe injuries to his head and is now reliant on full-time care. Kristopher will never be able to be independent again.

Due to the nature of his disabilities, Kristopher was unable to represent himself in legal proceedings. As such, his mother – Jill Hicks, who also acts as Kristopher’s full-time carer – made a claim for compensation on his behalf against Young. In the claim, she alleged that Kristopher jumped from the taxi as he thought that he was being abducted by Young, considering that he was a strange man and it was late in the evening.

However, these allegations were disputed by Young, who said that Kristopher alone was to blame for his injuries as he had made the decision to jump from the taxi as it was moving. A police investigation into the taxi driver determined that he had a “militant approach” to those avoiding fares, and even had an illegal CS gas canister to deal with such cases.

The case proceeded to London’s High Court such that Mr Justice Edis could determine liability. The judge agreed that Kristopher was “substantially to blame for his own misfortune”, though also commented that there was little doubt that Young had acted illegally by detaining his passenger. Judge Edis then ruled that there should be a fifty-fifty split in liability, and proceeded to adjourn the case such that an assessment of damages could be conducted.

Motorcyclist Ordered to Pay Injured Passenger £2,000

A motorcyclist, who injured his passenger by driving recklessly, has been ordered to pay £2,000 to the passenger and was dealt a two year suspended sentence.

The accident occurred on March 8th of this year when Mark Holmes of Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, had finished his shift working as a barman in the local pub, Commercial. He then offered his friend Joshua Pierce a lift home as a passenger on his motorcycle. Mr Pierce was supplied with a high-visibility vest and helmet to wear, leaving Mr Holmes with no helmet for himself. Shortly after their journey commenced Mr Holmes speedily exited a side road that lead onto the main Manchester Road, where he collided with a car.

Mr Holmes suffered trauma to his head – which would have been avoided if he had more than one helmet. His passenger sustained severe injuries to his lower body, notably his leg and pelvis. After emergency services brought Mr Pierce to Leeds General Infirmary an eleven-hour operation had to be carried out on his leg to reconstruct it after the collision.

An investigation was then carried out concerning the circumstances of the accident. It was discovered that, as Mr Holmes only had a provisional driving licence, he was not certified to carry passengers on the back of his motorbike. Mr Holmes was consequently charged with dangerous driving causing injury and the case against him was heard earlier this month in the Leeds Crown Court.

At the hearing, presided over by Judge Sally Cahill, Mr Holmes pleaded guilty to the charge of causing injury through dangerous driving and for failing to adhere to the conditions of his provisional licence. He also admitted that his actions that night were irresponsible and cited the decision to offer his friend a lift as foolish.  Mr Holmes’ barrister ensured the judge that his client was sober on the night of the accident, and attested to his good character. The judge sentenced Mr Holmes to a two-year suspended sentence, two hundred hours of community service and prohibited him from driving for a year. Mr Holmes was also ordered to pay the injured Mr Pierce £2,000 compensation for the accident.


Company Fined for Work Accident at Sainsbury’s

A man, who was gravely injured whilst working at Sainsbury’s, has presented his evidence to the Westminster Magistrates Court concerning his work accident.

The accident occurred on the 8th August 2013 when James Whelan was working at the Wandsworth, London, branch of Sainsbury’s supermarket on behalf of his employers, Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd, a construction company that specialises in scaffolds. However, as James was walking between an existing part of the building and the construction site, he applied pressure to an area of the plasterboard that gave way.

James fell seven metres down to a stairway below what he presumed to be a sound structure. After he was rushed to hospital, James was diagnosed with fractures to his spine, ribs and pelvis, as well as having a bruised lung. The extent of his injuries was so severe that the thirty-one year-old from Surrey has yet to make a full recovery.

An investigation into the circumstances of James’ accident was conducted by the Health and Safety Executives. The report determined that James’ employers could have taken many steps to prevent an accident such as James’. These included securing the walkway with guard rails or covering the fragile sections with a stronger material.

The scaffolding company were subsequently prosecuted by the HSE for breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Though Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd admitted liability for the accident, they disputed that they were negligent as they claim that they attempted to prevent accidents by limiting access to the dangerous pathway.

After the court hearing, the company were fined £6,000 for their negligence and ordered to pay £1,428 in costs. After the announcement of the fine, Gavin Pugh – an inspector with the HSE – commented that “The hazards presented by fragile surfaces and open edges are clear, and it is common knowledge that falls from height account for almost half of all deaths and serious injuries on construction sites. As such, companies like Bowmer & Kirkland should be fully aware of what needs to be done to adequately protect workers.

“The safety standards surrounding the walkway and fragile area fell some way short on this occasion, and it could have cost the scaffolder his life. He suffered painful injuries that still cause him pain and discomfort, but he could just as easily have been killed.”

Cameraman Awarded Compensation for French Accident

A cameraman has settled his injury claim for an accident that caused him to lose his right leg whilst filming in France.

The accident occurred during October 2015 when Noel Greaves-Lord, fifty-two from Worthing in West Sussex was filming in Cannes. One of the Ducati motorbikes that he was filming skidded and lost control as it manoeuvred around a corner and collided with Mr Greaves-Lord, who suffered a severely broken right leg and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Mr Greaves-Lord had previously worked with BBC and ITV.

Several operations were carried out on Mr Greaves-Lord in an attempt to reconstruct his ankle. However, it was necessary to amputate after he contracted MRSA whilst in hospital. The leg was amputated from the knee down in November 2011.  Mr Greaves-Lord  then returned to England and sought the advice of a solicitor in order to make an injury claim for the accident against the driver of the motorcycle that hit him.

The Italian driver of the Ducati conceded liability, but a settlement agreement was delayed until an assessment of Mr Greaves-Lord’s future requirements could be carried out. Mr Greaves-Lord has since received an undisclosed settlement that accounts for the pain he suffered, his loss of earnings (as he has been rendered unable to work) and his future care needs. Mr Greaves-Lord states that “I am pleased and relieved that my legal battle has come to a conclusion and I can now focus completely on rebuilding my life and continue with my recovery and rehabilitation. The last four years have been devastating and the injuries I sustained in France have had a huge impact on my life”.

French compensation claims are very different to their UK equivalents; though liability is much more likely to be admitted, the settlements themselves are often for a much lower value than what would be received in the United Kingdom.

Company found Negligent after Worker Sustains Electric Shock

A construction company have been issued a £20,000 by the Swindon Magistrates Court after an employee sustained injuries following an electric shock whilst at work.

The incident occurred in March 2013 when Lee Burge, aged thirty-eight from Bristol, was working at the Trowbridge Rugby Club as a crane operator. At the site, he began to lift a steel object when the hook of the crane collided with an 11kV power line that was overhead.

As Mr Burge was seated in the crane, he suffered a severe electric shock that left him unconscious. He was resuscitated immediately brought to hospital, where he received medical treatment for his injuries. However, Mr Burge still suffers from long-term memory loss as a result of the accident.

An investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the circumstances of the accident, during which it was uncovered that Ashford Homes (South Western) Ltd, Mr Burge’s employers, were forewarned concerning the presence of the power cables. They had also been advised on how to remove power supplies that ran across the site by an electricity company.

Yet the employers neglected to act upon the advice, and they took no action to try and prevent any equipment from working around the area which contained the power lines. The power supply to the lines was not diverted whilst the employees were working on the site.

The company were prosecuted by the HSE for failure to cohere to Regulation 34(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The case was heard at the Swindon Magistrates Court, where Ashford Homes Ltd plead guilty to the charges.

The company were consequently fines £20,000 and had to pay an additional £5,159 in costs. When the fine was announced, HSE Inspector Ian Whittles stated that  “Work near overhead power lines should be carefully planned and managed so that risks from contact or close proximity to the lines are adequately controlled. Ashford Homes failed to do this. Luckily Mr Burge was resuscitated, but he now suffers from life changing complications due the electric shock injury at work he received”.


Broken Hip Injury in Tesco Contributed to Customer’s Death

An inquest conducted by the Bradford Coroner’s Court has found that a broken hip sustained by a customer contributed to their death.

The accident occurred on 21st December 2013 when Esther Payne – aged ninety, from Steeton in West Yorkshire – was concluding her Christmas shopping at Tesco in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. As she was finishing her shopping, she was hit by a trolley ferrying beauty products around the shop that was being pushed by a Tesco employee.

The force of the impact caused Mrs Payne to fall to the floor and break her left hip. She was subsequently taken to Airedale Hospital where a pin was placed into her hip, though Mrs Payne experienced a deterioration in her health. She suffered from problems in her kidneys, and died on the 3rd January from a heart attack.

Bradford Coroner’s Court conducted an investigation into her death, and Mrs Payne was described as being fir for he age. Evidence from previous studies also showed that ten percent of elderly patients that suffer similar injuries to Mrs Payne’s die within one month of the accident, and that thirty percent die within a year.

Stephen Purser, the Tesco Group’s Safety Director, was questioned at the inquest by Assistant Coroner Dominic Bell concerning the movement of the roll-cage trolleys, such as the one that hit Mrs Payne. Mr Purser said that the policy was that the cages should be pulled, not pushed.

However, Jane Bradbury – Bradford Council’s Health and Safety Investigator – told the inquest’s jury that she had scheduled a visit to Tesco and had not seen the employees pulling the cages, but pushing them – contrary to Tesco’s own policies. She also told the jury the CCTV footage had failed to capture the accident, as none of the shop’s eight camera pointed on the spot.

Assistant Coroner Bell and Emily Formby, Tesco’s barrister, said that the lack of witnesses and CCTV footage meant that it was impossible to state without doubt how Mrs Payne’s accident occurred, but the inquest’s role was not to lay blame.

The jury returned a verdict that acknowledged that, while Mrs Payne died of a heart attack, the broken hip that she sustained whilst shopping in Tesco had been a contributing factor.

Pet-Owner Compensated for Dog Bite Injuries

A woman has been compensated £15,000 for injuries she sustained after a vicious dog attacked her and her two small dogs whilst they were walking in a public area.

When Rebecca Lambert, aged forty-one of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, was out walking her two small dogs near her house she was approached by a bull terrier that was off its lead. The dog’s owner called out to Ms Lambert that his pet was potentially dangerous, but this did not grant Ms Lambert ample time to lift up her own dogs – a pug-beagle hybrid (“puggle”) and a West Highland white terrier – to safety.

The bull terrier proceeded to bite the young puggle pup, and Ms Lambert struggled to free her dog. Whilst she was trying to protect her own pets, she sustained several bites and scratches to her own arms, thighs and face, including some puncture wounds.

After fifteen minutes, the bull terrier’s owner managed to break up the attack by breaking a stick of his own dog’s back. This allowed Ms Lambert to free her dogs, but the bull terrier’s owner then fled the scene.

The police and ambulance services were called to the scene, and a passerby managed to revive the puggle pup. It was then taken to a veterinary practice for immediate emergency surgery, which it survived. The police tracked down the bull terrier and its owner, and the owner was charged under the Animals Act 1971. The dog was then put down.

Ms Lambert sought legal counsel and then made a compensation claim against the bull terrier’s owner. She claimed that he knew that his dog could have been dangerous, but still made no efforts to restrain it or prevent it from attacking others. The man admitted liability for the injuries sustained by Ms Lambert, and negotiations procured a settlement that accounted for Ms Lambert’s injuries, psychological trauma and veterinary bills.

Each year, over 6,000 are injured by dogs, though few know that they can make a compensation claim. This even applies if the injury occurs in the dog owner’s home.


Family Compensated for Flying Accident Death

The family of fifteen-year-old Air Cadet has been awarded compensation for his death, which occurred when the plane he was riding in collided with a glider.

Nicholas Rice, an Air Cadet from Calcot in Reading, and Flight Lieutenant Mike Blee, a pilot, were both killed in an air accident on the 14th June 2009 when the plane they were flying in collided with a glider over the Drayton Airfield.

Flight Lieutenant Mike Blee had been declared fit to fly by Douglas Wyder, a doctor for the RAF Benson. However, this was in spite of the fact that Flight Lieutenant Blee had a diagnosed spinal condition, ankylosing spondylitis, which could have caused his spine to suddenly fracture without warning.

An inquest was conducted into the accident, and the result was to declare the deaths as accidental. The Royal Air Force subsequently apologised to the Rice family for their son’s death, and admitted that Flight Lieutenant Blee’s spinal condition may have played a part in the accident. They stated that he should not have been declared fit to fly.

Julia Rice, Nicholas’ mother, made a compensation claim for fatal injuries in a flying accident, though the Ministry of Defence initially contested her claim on the basis of time limits after such an incident occurs.

Despite this, Mrs Rice continued with her claim and when the Ministry of Defence were threatened with court, they negotiated a five-figure settlement for the fatal injuries.

The Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal found that Dr Wyper’s fitness to practice was impaired. However, this did not proceed any further as Dr Wyper has been put on an indefinite suspension after the inquest into the deaths was completed.

Briquette Manufacturers Fined for Employees’ Burns

A company that manufactures coal briquettes has been fines at the Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court after two of its employees were seriously burned when a fine broke out at the manufacturing plant.

The fire broke out on the 16th December 2012 in a building that held a rotary drier at Maxibrite’s manufacturing plant in Llantrisant. When he was alerted of the fire, Simon Gilbody – a manager at the plant – attempted to use a hose to dampen the flames in the tower.

However, these attempts were in vain and Mr Gilbody, with the help of another worker, Carl Lewis, tried to open an inspection hatch at the base of the tower to release any blockages. Yet when Mr Lewis opened the hatch, hot coals and cinders fell from the opening, causing Mr Gilbody to sustain burns to his upper body and face.

When Mr Lewis attempted to close the inspection hatch’s door, he also sustained serious burns. Medical attention was called to the scene, and though Mr Gilbody was allowed home after receiving treatment from the attending paramedics, Mr Lewis was admitted to hospital and had to undergo a skin graft in an attempt to help the damage to his skin.

The Health and Safety Executives (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident, and it was uncovered that Maxibrite failed to conduct adequate risk assessments concerning possible fires in the tower. Additionally, it failed to train staff in fire safety procedure in the event of a fire.

The company was prosecuted for breaches of the Management of health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were also told to implement staff training in fire-fighting equipment and fire safety.

The case was heard at the Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court, where Maxibrite representatives plead guilty to the charges. The court fined the company £20,000 for negligence and also ordered them to pay prosecution costs of £5,115.

HSE Inspector Steve Lewis stated, after the fine was announced, that the employees that were injured in the incident were lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries, and noted that every employer should ensure that they have adequately instructed their staff in fire safety protocol.

Worker Receives Compensation for Face Injury

A compensation settlement of £500,000 has been awarded to a former welder after he sustained injuries to his face at work.

The man, aged forty-nine and anonymous, was working for the Hulme Group at a commercial vehicle repairs facility in Trafford Park, Manchester, when the accident occurred in 2008. The welder was endeavouring to weld two pieces of steel together when the hydraulic jack that was being used to support the steel sheets he was working on moved and hit his face.

The injuries that the man sustained were severe; the sheet smashed his left eye socket and inflicted nerve damage upon his left cheek. A total of five surgeries were carried out on the man in an attempt to reconstruct his eye socket, and he is continuing to receive deep brain stimulation therapy for the pain in his cheek.

The former welder is unable to leave his home without wearing a prosthetic mask that will shield his damaged face from the weather and pollutants.

The man sought legal counsel after speaking with a representative of his union, and subsequently made a claim for the injuries he sustained at work. His employers have previously been issued with improvement notices from the Health and Safety Executives for unrelated offences, and they admitted liability for the man’s accident. Negotiations for the settlement then commenced between the parties.

The settlement was eventually resolved for £500,000. When this was announced, the man who had been injured stated that “They never established exactly what was wrong with the jack but the fact is that it wasn’t safe work equipment. I was a healthy and active man before my accident, and in a split second my freedom and independence were taken away from me.”