An accident at work claim is obviously something that every business wants to avoid. Whilst this is in the most part about ensuring the safety of employees, some businesses decide that profit is more important. This is an example of an accident at work where the employer decided saving on their insurance was more important than the wellbeing of an employee after his injuries.

Our client was working as a labourer in an old pub being converted into flats. The bar supporting the ceiling had been removed prior to him entering the premises. As he was sorting the refuse to take out, the ceiling collapsed on to his head. He drifted in and out of consciousness and was trapped beneath the plastering for twenty minutes before the emergency services arrived. Our client was extracted by the fire service and then airlifted to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a spinal fracture and concussion. This kept him in hospital for seven nights following the accident after which he was required to wear a body brace for another seven months.


We contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate the claim and were shocked to discover that whilst the collapse had been reported, our client’s injury had not. They began their investigation and visited our client to take his statement and begin to form evidence. The client’s employer also attempted to suggest that he wasn’t employed by them. The wage slips and company branded clothing in his possession said otherwise! This just shows the length that some employers will go to to avoid liability for an accident at work. They were willing to put an employee at a permanent disadvantage just to save a few pounds on their insurance renewal.


We instructed an orthopaedic surgeon to medically examine our client’s injuries. The doctor recommended that he be referred to a psychologist to help diagnose the mental aspect of his claim. The psychologist then diagnosed a period of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious psychological illness, which had been caused by the accident at work. After taking into account all the evidence and the HSE investigation, the employer’s representatives finally admitted liability.


After negotiation between us and the representatives, we settled this accident work for £55,000. As he couldn’t return to labouring, our client used this to start up a small internet-based business. We wish him the best of luck.