Crush injury claims involve an array of different forms of injury and is therefore it difficult to collate exact statistics for crush injuries alone but we know they do make up a significant portion of the near 700,000 workplace injuries per annum. So, what type of crush injuries are most common and what should you do if you believe you have been injured at work (or even out of work) as a consequence of negligence by a third party?
Different Types Of Crush Injuries
Even though the majority of crush injury claims can be for relatively minor injuries you may still be entitled to compensation even if you are back to work in just a few days. More serious crush injuries can have a debilitating impact on a person’s life, they can change the life of those around them and the financial implications can be enormous. More common crush injuries include:
Vehicles In The Workplace
Forklift truck accidents are fairly commonplace and while some people may see these as a “consequence of the job” it is worth noting that your employer has a legal duty of care to ensure the workplace is safe for all employees. Employees may well experience situations which are “challenging” but even in these situations risk assessments, safety equipment and other precautions should be taken. Indeed, where the risks are significant the law suggests that employers should consider alternative arrangements when possible.
Whether in the workplace, in your local supermarket or out in public, crush injuries as a consequence of falling objects can often result in serious injuries. While many of us take for granted the everyday dangers of falling objects, they can take in such issues as shelving falling in your local supermarket, signposts blown over by the wind and even instances of unsafe gravestones causing serious crush injuries and fatalities. Local authorities and businesses have an obligation to ensure all equipment is safe and secure and recent instances of falling gravestones have led to a mass checking of graveyards across the UK.
Crush Injuries From Workplace Machinery
The legal duty of care which each employer has towards employees covers all aspects of the working environment and working life. Building, manufacturing and agriculture are areas where crush injuries occur most often as a consequence of workplace machinery. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all workplace machinery is maintained to a high standard, safety equipment is available to employees and suitable safety guards are fitted to all devices.
If you experience a crush injury from workplace machinery falling on top of you or safety guards were missing for example then you may have a claim for compensation if negligence can be proven.
Road traffic accidents are by far and away the most common basis for personal injury claims in the UK. Whether you are a driver, passenger or pedestrian, if negligence is to blame for a crush injury in a road traffic accident, then you will likely have a strong basis from which to claim compensation. While there are many reasons for road traffic accidents, such as road conditions, time of day or night, careless driving is one of the more challenging features in this area.
Those who play certain types of sport do so in the knowledge that there is a certain element of danger and injuries may occur without negligence. It is worth noting that this does not negate the legal duty of care that participants have to themselves and others. This also extends to organisers of such events who need to have suitable procedures in place to avoid and treat crush injuries. Where it is possible to prove negligence on behalf of a sporting participant there will likely be a potentially strong claim for compensation.
While this list does cover an array of different situations it is by no means inclusive so whether you incur a crush injury at work, at leisure or in a public area, you may well have a valid compensation claim. It is therefore imperative that you seek guidance from a personal injury solicitor who will be able to review your case and advise you accordingly.
Proving Negligence In Crush Injury Claims
Whether experiencing a crush injury as a consequence of a sporting accident or in the workplace, there is a need to prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties. Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their employees which take in issues such as:
- Training – both initial and ongoing.
- Protective clothing.
- Providing protective equipment for machinery.
- Appropriate signage in the workplace.
- Risk assessments.
- Regular maintenance of equipment.
- Replacement of damaged or faulty equipment/machinery.
- Working procedures/guidelines available to all employees.
The situation outside of the workplace comes down to common sense, for example dangerous tackles and actions in sport, above and beyond the norm, can cause serious crush injuries. Just because an individual is playing a sport when they receive an injury does not negate the legal obligations of all participants.
Lodging A Crush Injury Compensation Claim
Where any injury occurs it is paramount that medical assistance is requested as soon as possible. This will not only allow a general examination but also ensure that any crush injuries are treated immediately to prevent further health issues. As all medical assessments are noted on a patient’s file, the injury, the time, the place and treatment required, this can prove extremely useful in the event of pursuing a crush injury compensation claim. It would also be useful to take pictures of the area in which the crush injury occurred, gather contact details from witnesses and any other supporting evidence. The gathering of supporting evidence may not be the first thing on a victim’s mind when they are injured but it is worth pursuing as soon as possible. This supporting evidence together with a documented timeline will provide sufficient information for a personal injury solicitor to review your crush injury claim.
In the event that you have a strong case for crush injury compensation you will likely be offered a No Win No Fee arrangement whereby there are no upfront costs but any compensation award is split on a predetermined percentage basis between the solicitor/law firm (maximum 25%) and the claimant. While No Win No Fee arrangements can sometimes attracted controversy, we can only imagine the number of valid crush injury compensation claims which have fallen by the wayside because victims did not have sufficient funds to cover their initial legal costs.
Once the information has been collected and reviewed by your personal injury solicitor, if pursuing a case for compensation, the details will be forwarded to the courts with a copy to the defendant. Where negligence is fairly obvious the defendant may well seek an out-of-court settlement to reduce legal costs and bring closure to what may be a difficult situation. Where there is shared negligence or contested negligence for a crush injury this would likely go before the courts with a judge making a ruling based on all evidence.
Types Of Compensation For Crush Injury Claims
There are two specific types of compensation for crush injuries. These are general damages and special damages. General damages are related to compensation for issues such as:
- The injured persons pain and suffering.
- Life changing crush injuries.
- Mental trauma.
While there is some discretion on the level of general damages that can be awarded, the courts will refer to previous similar crush injury claims and the levels of compensation awarded. In reality every case is different, the impact of the injury on each individual varies enormously and mental trauma is something we often forget about but is very important.
Special damages relate directly to costs incurred as a consequence of the crush injury and any future cost implications. This will take in an array of financial issues such as:
- Loss of earnings from the crush injury.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Medical expenses for the crush injury.
- Future medical expenses.
- Additional transportation costs.
- Adaptions to the home if they were needed.
While this list isn’t 100% inclusive it does give potential claimants an idea of the sort of financial redress they might expect in the event of a successful crush injury compensation claim. There is no ambiguity with special damages because they simply cover historic costs and future costs all brought about as a direct result of a crush injury.
For free advice on crush injury claims please contact us today and we can advise you on questions you might have such as what crush injury compensation you might be entitled to claim for.