Member of the Week - Munro & Noble Personal Injury Solicitors

If you have sustained an injury as a result of an accident at work, a trip on a public street or during the course of a road traffic accident, Munro & Noble can assist you in securing the compensation you are entitled to.

So, you’ve suffered an injury and therefore you should receive compensation, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In Scotland, there is no automatic right to compensation and so you have to prove that someone, whether that be your employer, the local authority of another driver, has been negligent. Proving negligence is not always straightforward as every case is different. There are many laws, regulations and Court decisions that affect the duties and responsibilities of third parties. At Munro & Noble, we can look into the circumstances of your accident and advise you fully as to whether someone has breached their duties.

For example, if you are using a piece of work equipment during the course of your employment which then breaks and causes you injury, there is no guarantee that a claim against your employer will be successful as they are no longer strictly liable for such accidents. You have to prove negligence and you do so by showing your employer was, or should have been, on notice that there was a fault. Although the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 no longer confer civil liability as of 26 October 2013, the requirements, responsibilities and duties placed on employers to protect their employees from harm in terms of those regulations are unchanged. This means that your employer has a duty to inspect and maintain work equipment and provide adequate training on their use. If they do not do this and you suffer an injury, then you have a reasonable chance of proving negligence.

One of the best ways to prove your employer was on notice of a fault, whether with work equipment, the workplace itself or in the work systems, is to rely upon previous complaints made by you or your colleagues that were not acted upon by your employer. It is essential that all defects and incidents, even if you do not consider them to be serious or have caused an injury, must be reported and recorded. A significant number of claims fail purely because this is missing.

Most people know of someone who has tripped on a pothole or a raised slab in the street. But not all of these people who have such accidents receive compensation. Although the local authority has a duty to maintain the roads and footpaths, they are not obliged to do so to garden lawn standard. The roads and footpaths are under constant wear and tear and to repair all defects, irrespective of how minor they may be, would take an enormous amount of time and most likely bankrupt the local authority. To account for this, the Courts permit local authorities to exercise their discretion as to what repairs they carry out. They do so broadly in line with a nationally accepted code of practice which provides that defects under 25mm on a footpath and 100mm on a road will not be considered actionable. If the local authority, through their routine inspection regime fail to repair defects above these parameters, then you may have a claim against them.

This will be the last thing on your mind if your injury yourself after tripping in the street, but the most important evidence we need in order to pursue a successful claim against the local authority is a photograph confirming the height (or depth) of a defect. Without this, the claim is unlikely to succeed as you will be unable to show the defect was actionable, especially if some time has passed since your accident. The easiest way to do this is to place a vertical 10p coin, which is approximately 25mm in height, against the defect and take a photograph with your phone.

Requests under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 are routinely made in these types of claims and very often documents are exhibited showing that members of the public made complaints to the local authority out with their system of inspection. In those circumstances, and if the defect is considered to be actionable, then the local authority have a duty to carry out repairs. If they do not and you suffer an injury as a result, then you may have a successful claim against them. Again, this highlights the importance of ensuring defects are reported and recorded.

Recovering from an injury is difficult enough and so you should not have to deal with the additional stress of investigating and proving someone has been at fault. No amount of money can make up for the pain and suffering following an accident, but you may also have other losses that can claimed as well, such as past earnings, future earnings and medical treatment. Munro & Noble are here to help guide you through this and obtain the compensation that you deserve. If you need us, please get in touch.

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