A guide to making a No Win No Fee pallet accident claim
Defined as bases for assembling, storing, handling and transporting goods and loads, pallets are used in many industries. Due to their weight, accidents involving them are often serious. If a person is injured in a pallet accident that was not their fault, a claim for compensation could be made.
Injuries from pallet accidents can cause significant suffering. From cuts and lacerations caused by splinters and sharp edges to broken bones and head, spine and crush injuries caused by falling pallets, incorrect handling or transportation, recovery can take time.
Receiving a pay-out in the form of compensation helps to cover costs related to medical bills, travel and loss of earnings. This is where the Quittance panel of solicitors can help.
Who is responsible when a pallet accident occurs?
Commonplace in factories and warehouses, a high number of pallet accidents occur in the UK each year. Frustratingly, most could be avoided if the correct health and safety procedures were in place. Although a worker has a responsibility for his or her own safety, as well as a ?duty of care' towards colleagues, ultimately an employer is responsible for ensuring the health and safety procedures are adequate enough to prevent employees meeting with harm.
Responsibility can also lie with a manufacturer for failing to produce a pallet that meets with accepted BS ISO 445 safety standards.
Unless an employee deliberately acts in a dangerous manner when working with pallets (which would constitute ?contributory negligence'), they cannot be held responsible for the accident.
What legislation is in place to protect workers?
Employers who use pallets in their workplace are guided by a range of health and safety legislation. This includes the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
These include provisions to ensure that employers: carry out adequate risk assessments of the work environment; put sufficient safety procedures in place; train staff on the risks and safety procedures; and provide relevant personal protective equipment.
When working with pallets, for example, employers would be required to manage the hazards associated with using, stacking and transporting them.
The use of pallets is also covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). This requires that pallets are constructed and adapted to be suitable for the purpose intended, as well as regularly maintained and inspected.
Powered Pallet Trucks (PPT)
PUWER legislation also covers PPT used for transporting pallets, which present further unique dangers. In addition, PPTs are covered by an approved code of practice, which ensures drivers have adequate training. Despite this, around 4,500 accidents involving hand pallet trucks occur every year, according to Pallet Trucks UK.
What are the common causes of pallet accidents that lead to claims?
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), accidents directly attributed to pallets are usually caused by:
- Poor design, construction or repair
- Using inferior materials
- Using a pallet which is unsuitable for a particular load, handling or storage method
- Unsafe stacking resulting in falling stacks or pallets
- Handling problems caused by mixing smaller Europallets (800 mm x 1200 mm) with larger UK pallets (1200 mm x 1000 mm) in racking systems
- Continued use of a damaged pallet
- Bad handling techniques
- Pallets being used in an unsuitable environment
How can employer negligence by proved?
The key to proving employer negligence is providing sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they were at fault. As soon as an accident happens it is important that certain steps are taken to document the incident.
When a person is injured in a pallet accident, the first step is to seek medical attention. Employers should have procedures in place to deal with injuries involving employees. The incident and injuries should also be recorded in the work accident book, which is a legal requirement.
Photographs of the accident scene should be taken where possible, as well as photographs of the injuries sustained. Any witnesses to the accident should also be noted.
If liability can be proven, compensation should come from the employer's insurers. The amount received will be decided based on the individual facts of the case.
How is an amount for compensation is determined?
Calculations for settlements and Court awards will be based on the type and seriousness of the injuries sustained.
Upper and lower figures are recommended by the Judicial College guidelines for personal injury awards.
The Judicial College guidelines are used by insurers when proposing a settlement, and they will be applied when Courts calculate awards.
Further to the general damages proposed in Judicial College guidelines, it is possible to include in a compensation claim costs you have incurred during treatment and ongoing care.
Making a No Win No Fee pallet accident claim with Quittance
A no win no fee agreement (technically called a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between the claimant and a suitably qualified solicitor.
A no win no fee agreement is the terms under which the solicitor is instructed by their client.
The CFA sets out what the lawyer will do as well as how he will be paid if your claim is successful.
If you instruct Quittance Personal Injury for your pallet accident compensation claim there are absolutely no additional costs , no up-front fees and the comfort that you will not be out of pocket.
What happens next?
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