Care worker injured in fall on icy path wins court battle

by Direct 2 Lawyers on August 13, 2013

A carer who sustained physical injuries after slipping on ice in front of a client’s home has won her legal battle against her employer for compensation.

Ms Tracey Kennedy, 43, worked as a carer for Cordia in Glasgow when the accident happened in December 2010. On 18 December Ms Kennedey left her home with another member of staff to visit the house of an elderly client. However, at the time that she left her home there had been a heavy snowfall and conditions were freezing. On the way to the house of the client Ms Kennedey slipped on a patch of ice and fell backwards, injuring her wrist.

Ms Kennedy subsequently submitted a claim personal injury and pursued Cordia, which is the arms-length care service of Glasgow City Council, through the courts in a bid to win compensation for the injury she suffered. She alleged that Cordia had breached health and safety regulations by failing to provide her with proper equipment for the freezing weather and that the business had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment in the circumstances. Cordia, on the other hand, argued that Ms Kennedy could and should have made the decision not to go out to work in the poor weather conditions.

The matter came before the Court in Session in Edinburgh earlier this year. The Court heard evidence from both parties and released its judgment on the case earlier this month. The Court found in favour of Ms Kennedy in her claim, holding that under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 the business had failed to provide Ms Kennedy with a cheap over-shoe attachment that would have reduced her chances of falling on the ice, and held that she could not be held culpable for the accident through her own fault as she was attempting to help an elderly client who otherwise would have been left all night without her medication. Lord McEwan stated in the judgment that “everyone has to live and work through winters and that “safety is to be levelled upwards”, holding that the health and safety of persons working in dangerous conditions in Scotland was of the utmost importance.

Marc Hadrill, a personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented: “Businesses have obligations under health and safety legislation to – largely – take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that proper risk assessments are carried out and that proper equipment is provided to staff to prevent otherwise-avoidable injuries. If businesses fail to do this then they are risking getting involved in potentially expensive and lengthy court cases”.

The value of the damages which will be awarded to Ms Kennedy as a result of the injury will be decided in a hearing by the courts at a later date.

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