Workman offered £15,000 after electric shock injury receives over £100,000

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Workman offered £15,000 after electric shock injury receives over £100,000

17th May 2012

A man who fell from a ladder after suffering an electric shock at work has received more than £100,000 in compensation – despite insurers initially trying to settle the claim for just £15,000.

The electrician in his sixties had been subcontracted to replace a bulb in an exterior security light when the incident occurred. Martin James, a serious injury specialist who represented the victim, explained that the man’s injuries were a result of the massively dangerous wiring of the building.

“My client switched off the circuit which was labelled as providing power to the external light before he began his work,” said Martin, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “However the light had been wired in through a different circuit – labelled “alarm” on the circuit box – and so it was still receiving power. Furthermore, the wiring was so poor that the actual exterior casing of the light was live.”

As the man touched the light fitting to begin changing the bulb, he received an electric shock and was thrown from his ladder.

“My client fell several feet, fracturing a vertebra in his back as he landed,” said Martin. “Although he recovered fairly well from the initial injury, he suffered ongoing back pain as well as other symptoms such as dizziness and some psychiatric issues.”

Martin said that what on the face of it should have been quite a straightforward case in terms of liability was complicated when the defendant insurers denied liability, then argued that the injured man’s own negligence had significantly contributed to his injuries.

“The defendants said that he should have checked whether the light’s casing was live before he went to change the bulb,” said Martin. “He had already turned the power off at the mains – or so he thought – and at the end of the day was only changing a light bulb.”

Martin said as a result of his injuries, the man had been unable to work and so had lost significant earnings. “But again the defendants tried to dispute this,” he said. “They claimed he was still working, they said that he had pre-existing back problems and all manner of health issues, and even argued that his general advancing of years was going to affect his business,” he said.

Once the defendants had finally admitted liability, Martin began negotiating a settlement on behalf of his client. “The defendants made an offer of £15,000 to settle the claim in full,” he said. “This was risible given the circumstances and the effect the injuries had on my client’s ability to work. As soon as we declined they immediately increased that to £25,000, and then again to £50,000,” he said.

“Had we not persisted then the claim could have settled at any stage for an amount which simply did not take into account the significant loss of earnings my client suffered as a direct result of the injury.”

Following lengthy negotiations, Martin settled the claim on behalf of his client for £107,500.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of serious injury and has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.