At the time of his accident in the workplace, our client was working as a general assistant at Tesco Stores Limited.
On the day in question, he was working in the store's freezer room. He was attempting to move a roll cage that was full of boxes of ice.
However, the wheels had become stuck because ice had built up around them. The roll cage was placed directly under a fan used to keep the freezer cold. Because of a fault, the fan had dripped water on to the floor, which then froze around the wheel.
Our client continued to pull at the cage, trying to get it to move. As he tried applying more force, his foot slipped forward on the icy floor, causing him to fall backwards. As he fell, several boxes of ice, each weighing about 15kg, fell from the cage and on to his chest and rib area, winding him.
Our client returned to work and finished his shift. He informed his store manager of the accident but did not complete an accident report at this time. When he returned to complete a shift two days later, he still had quite severe pain in his chest and so completed an accident report. A few days later, the pain had become so bad that he could hardly move. He therefore made a hospital visit to have his chest and ribs examined. Medical staff there informed him that he might have suffered bruising and fractured his ribs.
Overall, our client's injury caused him to be absent from work for a period of six weeks. During this time, he sustained a loss of earnings of £151.76.
Our client instructed our work accident solicitors through his union, Usdaw, and we proceeded to intimate a claim to his employers.
His employer was deemed liable because it had not maintained a safe working environment, in doing so creating a slipping hazard that could have easily been avoided had a few appropriate measures been put in place. Our client and his colleagues were not provided with any equipment to remove the build-up of ice, nor were they instructed to do so.
However, the defender denied liability, holding the point of view that our client was fully trained to do his job and that there was an effective cleaning and maintenance system in place. They also had safety documentation confirming there was no build-up of ice on the floor on the day of the accident.
Due to the defender's denial of liability, our work accident solicitors started to gather evidence that would help with the case. We obtained witness statements from our client's colleagues, who all confirmed there was a build-up of ice due to a fault with the freezer's fan. They also confirmed for us that a build-up of ice around the wheels of the cage was a common occurrence.
Based on this evidence, we remained confident that our client's employer had been negligent and so proceeded to raise an action in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. We also had our client examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who confirmed he'd sustained a soft tissue injury to his chest and rib area, allowing for a three-month period of recovery.
When we raised court proceedings, the solicitors acting on behalf of the employer put forward a Tender of £2,850. We discussed this sum with our client, advising him that it was a similar amount to what he could expect to be offered by the court, and he confirmed he wished to accept it. The case was settled on 29 August 2017.