A guide to making a No Win No Fee garage and motor repair accident claim
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the motor vehicle repair industry has witnessed 7,000 injuries and 33 fatal accidents over the past five years. These accidents arise in all sorts of circumstances, including:
- Slip, trip and fall accidents
- Pushing, pulling or carrying heavy weights, known as a manual handling accident
- Crush injuries sustained while working under a vehicle
- Injuries caused by faulty tools or equipment.
Given the heavy equipment and power tools used in vehicle repair, the consequences of a garage accident can be serious, with injuries ranging from cuts and broken bones to severe spinal injury and head injury.
Employers are responsible for eliminating hazards in a garage environment and generally providing a safe working environment. Thus, garage and motor repair accidents are usually categorised as accident at work claims. That said, anyone who has suffered an accident or injury in a garage or motor vehicle repair shop, including members of the public, may be eligible to bring a claim against the owner pr occupier of the premises.
What are the employer's duties?
All employers owe a duty of care to their employees. By law, they must take reasonable steps to keep their employees safe from harm. Everyday duties include keeping the floors free from holes, obstructions and other trip hazards and making sure that oil and other spills are cleaned up immediately.
Garages are covered by a number of specific regulations that address the type of risks that may be found in a motor repair setting. These include:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - this piece of legislation requires that employers provide a safe working environment, assess and manage risks and adequately maintain their equipment, tools and materials.
- The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 - these regulations aim to protect workers from injury caused by lifting activities such as carrying tyres, car body parts and jacks, and other manual handling activities such as using a wrench on a wheel.
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 - these regulations place an obligation on employers to ensure that work machines such as vehicle lifts are safe to use, frequently inspected, well maintained and fit for purpose.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations - these regulations require an employer to limit exposure to hazardous chemicals such as benzene and to issue personal protective equipment when there is a risk of inhalation or splashing.
In addition to the various pieces of legislation, the Health and Safety Executive frequently issues guidance leaflets to help the owners of garages and motor vehicle repair shops minimise the risks and implement good workplace safety practices.
Is the employer liable for a garage and motor repair accident?
To make a successful claim, the injury lawyer must show that the employer was legally responsible for the accident (negligence) and that injuries resulted from the accident (causation).
Evidence will be gathered to show that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to eliminate the risks associated with the relevant work process, premises or machinery and thus can be held legally accountable for the accident.
Liability is almost always established if it can be shown that the employer breached a specific health and safety rule. Your solicitor will assist with the gathering of evidence in support of the claim, including witness statements and safety check logbooks.
How does No Win, No Fee work with garage accident compensation claims?
A garage accident No Win, No Fee compensation claim starts with a Claimant signing up to a Conditional Fee Agreement, or CFA, with their chosen lawyer.
A CFA is essentially a contract between your lawyer and you.
It sets out the work your case handler will provide, and crucially, the "success fee". This success fee is the fee to be deducted from the total compensation once your claim is successful.
You are able to prioritise your recovery, knowing that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset and you will never be out of pocket. You have absolutely no hidden fees when choosing a a Quittance solicitor.
What to do next
Many Claimants prefer to do their research before contacting a solicitor. Getting the information required to make a decision can, however, be a challenge.
For more information on your potential claim, try our Help and Advice section