Supervisor slips on wet floor

The client instructing Thompsons' work accident solicitors in this case was employed as a production worker with Muller Wiseman Dairies.

On the day of his accident, he was acting as office supervisor, which involves him allocating work to other staff in the warehouse. He left his office to attend to an issue with a tail lift for a trailer and walked with a colleague to the appropriate trailer bay to show a mechanic exactly what was wrong with the tail lift. As he was leaving the bay, however, he slipped on a wet floor, landing on his back on the hard concrete floor.

As our client remained lying on the floor while his colleagues phoned an ambulance, he realised that the floor had recently been cleaned and was still wet (and yet there were no wet floor signs in place).

The consequences

There was immediate pain in our client's lower back following his slip accident. He was placed on a stretcher and taken to an ambulance, where he was provided with pain relief medication. At the hospital, he underwent an x-ray that confirmed there were no fractures in his back. He was diagnosed with a muscular injury.

Our client's GP provided him with a sick line for two weeks, during which time he was paid company sick pay. He did, however, lose out on shift allowance and overtime. In these two weeks, our client became totally dependent on his wife, as even minor tasks were too difficult for him to complete by himself. This included showering, dressing, shopping, and preparing meals. He was unable to drive for three weeks.

He was also unable to enjoy his favourite hobby, orienteering, during the recovery period. This was because it required the use of his bike, and his injury left him unable to cycle.

His back injury meant he had to be absent from work for the three weeks following the accident, leading to a loss of earnings of £256.

The settlement

Our client's employer had not ensured "wet floor" signs were placed after floor cleaning processes to help prevent workers from slipping. Although workers were provided with protective equipment in the form of safety boots, these are largely ineffective when on slippery surfaces as they lack sufficient grip.

We intimated a claim to our client's employers, but the insurance company acting as defender on their behalf denied liability for the accident. They believed that there was no evidence to prove that the floor was wet when our member slipped.

Because of their contention, we decided to raise court proceedings in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. We also arranged for our client to be examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who confirmed that he had sustained a soft tissue injury to his lower back and needed six months to recover.

After the court papers were served to the employers, they offered a Tender of £2,150 (however, they still did not admit liability). After receiving the advice of our work accident solicitors, who advised him what his case was worth based on the available medical evidence, our client decided to reject the offer and make a counter offer in the sum of £3,750. We arranged a meeting to discuss the case with the defenders, but the counter offer was accepted the day before the scheduled meeting. The case was settled on 14 September 2017.

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