Pipefitter's HAVS Claim Case Study

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Our client, Mr Mick Stanley 53, contacted us with a view to claiming for occupational vibration injury following more than three decades of exposure to vibrating tools in various workplaces.

The background

We obtained an expert medical report from a consultant vascular surgeon. This confirmed the diagnosis of HAVS at stage 2/1V and 1SN on the Stockholm scale, a relatively mild form of the condition.

Although our client's history of exposure to vibration could be traced back to the 1980s and encompassed numerous employers and numerous roles, often for short periods of time, the fact that it would be difficult to establish vibration levels at many of these roles and the fact that some of these claims would be time-barred meant that we decided to proceed with a vibration injury claim against his most recent employer.

Our client worked for Sparrows Offshore Limited between 2010 and 2016 where he was employed as a plater/welder, a work-shop based role which involved the use of a number of different tools and machines including belt sanders, drills, and, most frequently, grinders.

Our client had several reservations about the safe use of these tools and recalled taking his concerns to a number of managers over the years at regular safety meetings.

The settlement

Pre-litigation, we shared our expert medical report with the defenders and invited settlement proposals. However, we did not receive a satisfactory response so therefore decided to raise court action in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

The defender obtained its own expert medical report. While this confirmed a HAVS diagnosis, the cause of the injuries was attributed to Mr Stanley's previous employers.

On the basis of this report, the defenders put forward an offer of £700 which was based on a gross offer of £5,000 and took into account the fact that vibration injury is a divisible injury and therefore each defender is only liable to the extent of their contribution to injury.

After discussing this offer with the client, we contacted the defender and persuaded them to increase their offer to £1,620. Mr Stanley instructed us to accept this offer and settlement was finalised on 29 May 2019.

Given all the complex circumstances involved, the settlement represents a good outcome for Mr Stanley's vibration injury claim.

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