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Law Bulletin - August 2006

Protection from Harassment Act Case [Liability]

House of Lords confirms vicarious liability can apply against employer

Successful stress through overwork claim [Liability]

Ms Garrod was a health visitor, working part time for 30 hours per week. She had fallen ill with depression due to pressure of work having been repeatedly obliged to cover for a colleague who had been absent due to illness.

Hopeless claim for arsenic poisoning [Liability]

A British Government body had carried out a research project on wells in Bangladesh. When they had completed the project they also did some work testing the water within wells in Bangladesh. They supplied the results of the test to various Bangladeshi Government organisations.

Work equipment – New ideas on how to get around Hammond and three trials on the point [Liability]

We continue to run into Hammond as a ground for denial in work equipment cases. Below are two examples of how this still happens.

Flush handle was not suitable [Liability]

The case below was virtually identical on facts to the toilet handle case described at length in the December 2005 and June 2006 Law Bulletin. Again, a toilet handle sheared off while being used by the claimant.

Wire obstruction [Liability]

Here is a far simpler case showing the value of pleading both PUWER 98 and Workplace 92.

As and when cleaning system enough for defendant [Liability]

The claimant fell, while working, on wet leaves in a cemetery. It was autumn. The defendant had not carried out a risk assessment nor had they a written system for dealing with the falling of leaves onto a traffic route within a workplace. The claimant’s foreman determined when the leaves needed to be cleared away and also a sweeper was used once a week.

Claimant walked into road without looking [Liability]

The claimant was aged 13 and 9 months at the time of the road accident. She walked into a busy road and was struck by C's truck. She suffered a blow to the head that resulted in severe brain damage. Various witnesses confirmed that E had walked out from between two cars, the nearest one being a Volvo with furniture on its roof.

Motorcyclist having no time to avoid accident no basis for finding of contributory negligence [Liability]

Once a judge had found as a primary fact that a motorcyclist was so close to the point of impact with a vehicle executing a U-turn that he could not have avoided the resulting collision, there was simply no basis for any finding of contributory negligence on the part of the motorcyclist.

Discretion granted on limitation in deafness case [Practice and Procedure]

The claimant had completed an audiometric questionnaire in March 1999 confirming that he had hearing problems and that he understood that exposure to high noise levels could cause hearing loss. He had worked for a company that closed down in 1982.

Award for asbestosis [Damages]

The claimant was 75 years old at the date of trial. He contracted asbestosis during the course of employment with the defendant between 1970 and 1991. He developed breathing problems and was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2004. Medical opinion was that the claimant’s overall disability was in the order of 80 per cent of which 90 per cent was attributable to smoking-related lung disease and 10 per cent to the asbestos-related lung disease.

CRU [Damages]

The DWP have issued a circular dated 12 July saying that a recent internal audit has highlighted that a number of insurance companies / compensators are misinterpreting the Act. They note that, when the settlement for the compensation claim is agreed between the parties involved, some compensators are informing the CRU that the claim has settled using the date of agreement as the date of settlement. This action is incorrect.

CICA claims in EU countries [Information]

There is a new service for UK residents who have been injured as a result of a crime of violence in another EU country, provided the assault took place on or after 1 July 2005.