College lecturer compensated for classroom injury24 January 2014
Experience underlines importance of proper health and safety in the workplace
Neil Brindley, a college lecturer from Romford, has received compensation after he sustained hip injuries following an accident in his classroom.
Life-long union member
The life-long University and College Union (UCU) member was teaching a class when he stepped on a faulty power supply cover in the floor. The cover gave way and Mr Brindley’s right hip was twisted around.
Mr Brindley suffered soft tissue damage which was initially treated with a steroid injection in hospital. He had to take three days off work to rest and, when he returned – and despite taking pain-relief medication– he still had problems managing the pain, which was often severe.
As a result of his injury, Mr Brindley was unable to enjoy a skiing holiday that he had already booked and could not carry out a planned redecoration of his home. Mr Brindley has been a keen mountaineer since his teenage years and, during a holiday to South Africa, was prevented from fulfilling his aim of climbing Table Mountain.
Defendants refused to take responsibility
Mr Brindley contacted UCU, who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to take up a claim for compensation from the two defendants: the insurers representing the college and the insurers representing the contractors who had been working there. While there was little doubt that Mr Brindley had been injured due to a defective power supply cover, there was disagreement over who was responsible.
The case was eventually settled with both defendants agreeing to contribute jointly to a settlement of £16,500 which compensated Mr Brindley for the injuries he sustained and the consequential medical treatment, the costs he incurred from being unable to renovate his home and compensation for his skiing holiday being wasted.
Hazard not inspected, mended or marked
Mr Brindley said: “I was unlucky to have stepped on a faulty power supply cover. However, it clearly should have been properly inspected, mended or marked. This was an accident that could have been avoided.
“Because I was not able to renovate my home as planned I had to pay decorators to do the work. And, as keen mountaineer and skier, I was left frustrated at not being able to enjoy long-planned holidays.
“I am very happy with the service I received from Thompsons and have recommended them to my colleagues in UCU.”
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Our member’s experience is a reminder of the importance of rigorous systems of health and safety in the workplace. An easily avoidable accident has caused real and painful disruption to Mr Brindley’s life, but we are glad that a settlement has been reached.”
Kam Singh of Thompsons Solicitors said: “This was a case of two defendants blaming each other. They almost had to be dragged to the door of the courts before they would agree a settlement.
“With better communication between them the case could have been settled a year earlier and dramatically reduced the irritation to Mr Brindley.”
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