Levenes recovered high damages in a case rejected by another firm of solicitors
Mr P worked at a refinery. There was a chain of several contractors and subcontractors working at the refinery. Mr P worked for one of those contractors through a recruitment company on a self-employed basis.
The accident occurred when he was walking on a scaffold. As his colleague walking ahead of him stepped on a loose board, it raised causing Mr P to trip over and suffer injuries to his back. Mr P was unable to work for several months due to his injury and his family was forced to move back to their native Poland, due to their financial situation.
Levenes have pursued a number of successful accidents claim that were rejected by other solicitors
Mr P initially instructed a different firm of solicitors, who pursued a claim against a scaffold company, who had erected and maintained the scaffold. Their insurers denied liability arguing that the company carried out regular inspections, which did not show any defect prior to the accident.
Mr P’s previous solicitors at that point gave up. They did not believe that Mr P’s case could succeed.
Mr P then approached Levenes for a second opinion. We did not think that his previous solicitors had considered the case properly. We made a claim against the client’s “employer” for whom Mr P was working, as well as the scaffolding company.
Many years of experience in acting for the benefit of the victims of serious accidents
Both companies continued to deny liability. The “employer” argued that they were not in control of the scaffold. They also blamed the scaffold company. That with respect to them, missed the point. An employer has the responsibility for ensuing that the workplace is reasonably safe.
Mr P was self-employed and at the time of the accident was an agency worker. Nevertheless, the fact that his employment status was that of an agency worker, or self-employed, does not alter the fact that the company who direct and control him owe him duties of care.
In many ways the accident spoke for itself. If, as they claimed, the scaffold company they had regularly carried out a reasonable inspection, then the loose board would have been spotted and dealt with. As for the employer, they cannot just pass on the responsibility to another company – they still had a duty to check that the workplace was safe.
Levenes have won many cases similar this on construction sites where typically, one company will blame another and frequently, these defences fail.
On large construction sites, there can be several companies who might be liable. It is important in these cases to consider every angle and not give up, as the previous solicitors did, when one possible defendant denies liability.
After issue of proceedings but well before trial, the Defendants, having realised that they were not going to get away with their Defences, got together and agreed to settle the claim.
Mr P was very happy with his settlement and relieved that he would not have to go to trial.
This case reiterates the point that in construction site accidents it is very important to consider all the potential defendants that might be liable. Defendants often deny liability hoping that timid solicitors will abandon the claim. Thankfully for Mr P, he fired his timid solicitors and transferred his case to Levenes.
Mr P was represented by one of our very experienced solicitors, Joanna Mackiewicz, who always fights very hard for the rights of her clients.
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