Cleaner’s work accident compensation – Mrs. L. A’s story

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There are things that all people who have had an accident at work are concerned about when they are considering making a claim for work injury or illness compensation. All claimants and accident scenarios are different and should be treated as an individual matter, but there are common worries and concerns to address when it comes to making a claim.

Claimants often worry about issues such as whether making a workplace accident compensation claim could damage an employer, or lose the claimant their job. Good employers will handle an accident at work and any claim that follows properly and leave the claim to be dealt with by their insurers and the claimant legal team. However, not all employers are as open minded, and sadly we hear stories about how some become defensive, obstructive and difficult towards an injured employee if they indicate that they may take legal action and pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.

At Direct2Compensation we understand these concerns and know how to explain things in simple terms that can help you to understand your rights after an accident at work.  These concerns and issues often arise in accident at work compensation claims and with this in mind, we thought we would share the story of one of our claimants – Mrs. L A who had a really nasty accident at work in 2015.  An accident that leaves a permanent disfigurement and was handled very badly by the employer.

The claimant

Mrs. L A is a typical working mother, supporting her large family by working on a part-time basis whilst juggling the responsibilities of child care, school runs and looking after a baby. She is married with a mortgage and the bills we all have, hence needing to work to supplement her husband’s income to cover the cost of life in modern Britain. Prior to her accident at work, she had never needed any legal support and had not ever suffered ill health or been unable to work.

The job

Mrs. L A worked as a cleaner for a family and their business. She was employed on a full-time basis and had an official contract of employment. The family had a large and well equipped home and she was employed to work 5 days per week, cleaning the house and offices of the business. During her work with the firm, Mrs. L A had a very good relationship with her boss, often enjoying a cup of tea together and sharing stories of family life and other non-work related issues. It was a good relationship and all parties appeared to be mutually happy.

The accident

On the day of the accident, Mrs. L A arrived at work on a Monday morning as usual. She spoke with her boss to find out what work they wanted her to do on that day. The employers had entertained visitors over the weekend and therefore they tasked Mrs. L A with cleaning the guest rooms within the property. She collected the relevant equipment needed to clean the guest rooms and made her way upstairs to commence her duties.

Within the rooms of the property, the furniture was bespoke, hand made wooden furniture – beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers etc. The beds were extremely luxurious, with integrated flat-screen television units that could slide down or up from the foot board of the beds by the push of a button.

Having vacuumed the carpets and stripped the beds within the rooms, Mrs. L A began to dust the surfaces. This work proceeded as normal and the prospect of a serious injury never occurred to her. However, whilst she was dusting the side of the bed frame, kneeling down with one hand on the end of the foot board of the bed, the television unit that had been left ‘up’ and ready by the guests collapsed, dropping with force down into the bed foot board. This meant that the edge of the wooden rail that held the television in situ crushed the tip of Mrs. L A’s thumb as it fell and actually cut off the tip of her thumb across the base of the nail.

Mrs. L A was in immediate shock and considerably traumatised, she was bleeding heavily and wrapped a towel around her hand and ran for help. At this stage, her employer was really supportive and immediately took her to hospital where emergency treatment was provided. Mrs. L A was left unable to work that day and her employer told her not to worry and to rest. The employer confirmed that they had recorded the details of the accident within their accident book.

However, things changed dramatically the following day when Mrs. L A returned to hospital and was told that she would have to have further surgery to remove an exposed part of the thumb bone and would not be able to work. She was very concerned about her employer and leaving them in the lurch – something most conscientious accident at work compensation claimants do worry about – so she returned to work and tried to do the jobs she could. For obvious reasons she could not use one hand, so could not wash up, but could dust, vacuum and at least help. It was at this stage that Mrs. L A asked if the employer had insurance in place as she was now left without 1/3rd of her thumb and would need compensation to help with rehabilitation therapies etc. This caused the employer to completely change in their attitude and to basically force Mrs. L A out of her job saying that they could not work with someone that they could not trust. This is what lead Mrs. L A to need excellent advice, so she contacted Direct2Compensation for help.

It transpired that the bespoke furniture that caused Mrs. L A’s injury was some 9 years old and that during that time had never been serviced or inspected to see if any of the mechanisms needed replacement or fixes. Therefore, the employer had been negligent towards Mrs. L A’s health and safety at work and exposed her to the risk of serious injury – as happened in 2015. The mechanism of the television integration unit that caused Mrs. L A to lose the top 1/3rd of her thumb had failed and a part had snapped. There was no way that Mrs. L A could have known that this incident would happen, but if the employer had risk assessed the units and had an annual inspection and service, the accident and subsequent permanent injury could have been avoided.

The accident at work compensation claim

Quite why the employer became so defensive and unhelpful towards Mrs. L A after her accident is beyond us. They had employer liability insurance in place and as this was a genuine accident, they had nothing to worry about as their insurers could handle the claim and they as a business would not be unduly affected. Sure, they may have had to spend some time and money implementing a risk assessment and maintenance policy, but they had no need to behave so negatively towards their employee given the permanent injury she had suffered.

Mrs. L A was very nervous about pursuing such as serious laceration at work compensation claim. However, she found that the simple and easy to understand Direct2Compensation claims process gave her the confidence to make her claim. When she contacted us, we immediately believed that she had a strong claim for compensation and that she would be likely to succeed. We took the initial details as always and then found the right specialist solicitor for her. They agreed with our view of the claim and immediately accepted the matter. We then explained the claims process in greater detail and discussed the need for Mrs. L A to formally instruct the solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis by way of signing a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). As soon as the solicitors had the signed documents, they commenced work on the claim and unsurprisingly, obtained an almost immediate admission of liability from the 3rd party insurers.

The outcome

Whilst Mrs. L A’s claim is ongoing, she has found that making the claim has been a very beneficial decision. With the help of Direct2Compensation and our expert accident at work compensation solicitors, Mrs. L A has been able to concentrate on her recovery, medical treatment plan and ongoing rehabilitation therapies (as well as still juggling the usual parental responsibilities of child care, school runs etc etc!) without having to worry about paying her bills. Due to the admission of liability, Mrs. L A’s solicitor has been able to obtain an interim compensation settlement payment that has helped cover the loss of income and also been able to get a course of specialist physiotherapy treatments for her to learn to use her injured thumb, improve dexterity and grip strength as well as how to learn again to write, tie shoe laces, do up buttons etc.

Mrs. L A knows that she will receive a full settlement in due course and is now waiting for further medical reports to indicate whether any further treatment is likely and what extent the injury will affect her life going forward.  Once that is known, Mrs. L A’s Solicitor will be able to settle her claim at an amount that correctly matches the extent of her injuries and losses.

How Direct2Compensation can help you

If you are in the same situation as Mrs. L A after an accident at work, Direct2Compensation can help you make a claim for accident at work compensation. We know your rights and can help you to enjoy a similar outcome to that of our other accident at work compensation claimants – like Mrs. L A.

2 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

  1. Hi
    I worked for a family as their Cleaner. I didn’t have any form of written Contract, however I was paid by BACS payment from her bank account, to my bank account. I also have some texts from them, discussing the hours required each week etc.
    I fell from the top step of their stairs, after losing my footing over the baby stairgate. The carpet was also thinning and slippy.
    I have permanent nerve damage, Cauda Equina Syndrome, partial paralysis and loss of normal bowel and bladder functions. I also rely on a wheelchair now and a walking frame to stand upright. I have extremely painful episodes of spasms and I also have a drop-foot to my right foot.
    Although it isn’t really anyone’s fault, as such, I am left with no income to support my family and this is a permanent, life changing injury.
    Do I have a viable claim for Personal Injury?

    • You could possibly seek to make a claim against the employer if the baby gate that caused you to fall was not marked with a warning sign or if it created a tripping hazard across the top of a flight of stairs.

      Clearly, your injury is very serious with permanent implications to you. Given your situation it is worthwhile having a conversation with us to see if we can help.

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