Crush injury compensation claims
We specialise in helping victims of crush injuries win the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been the victim of a crush injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation.
What is a crush injury claim?
In the UK, most crush injury claims arise after an accident at work. It’s a particularly common risk amongst workers in the construction, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Whenever an incident occurs, the body parts suffering the most damage are hands and fingers.
Crush injuries occur whenever a body part suffers a jam, pinch, or squashing by or between objects. For instance, the trapping of a person under a rolling vehicle. Often, there is little visible evidence on the outside of the body, but the hidden damage can be extensive.
The pressure can damage bones, muscles, and internal organs, depending on the degree of force. Sometimes, the crush injury is so severe that amputation is necessary, leading to some life-changing consequences.
Common causes of crush injury claims
Crush injuries can occur in any situation, but most commonly happen in the workplace. The following describes some of the leading causes of crush injuries.
Machinery at work causes over 1,500 serious injuries a year, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Crush injuries typically occur when a worker becomes entangled in a machine. Most machinery-related crush injuries affect the hands and fingers and can permanently affect the injured person’s ability to work.
To prevent his kind of injury, employers have a duty to ensure that:
- All machinery is working properly
- That staff have training on how to operate all machinery safely
In addition to this, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 offer more employer requirements. One of those is to fix suitable guards; another is to establish “danger zones” around machinery. In turn, no worker should ever be able to come into contact with a dangerous moving part.
If an employer doesn’t take reasonable steps to protect you, they may owe you compensation for your injuries.
Falling objects crush injury claims
Crush injuries can occur when a heavy load collapses, trapping someone beneath. For example, materials falling from a warehouse shelf or collapsed structures on a building site. The object does not have to fall very far to cause serious injury.
Employers are responsible for keeping the work environment as safe as possible. They must also supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect workers from this type of injury. An employer may be liable for injuries you sustain if they fail to supply:
- Hard hats
- Steel toe-capped boots
- Any other safety equipment required for your role
Work vehicle claims
Diggers, cranes, forklift trucks, and certain types of farm vehicles are dangerous pieces of equipment in general. Particularly because they can cause serious crush injuries without maintenance or correct operation.
A vehicle could pin someone up against an object, run over their feet, or roll over a person. They can also collide with other objects such as storage racks causing those objects to topple and crush people.
Employers must design safe working processes so cranes, forklifts, and other vehicles can move safely around the workplace. Employees also need training on how to use these vehicles safely.
Road traffic accident crush injury claims
These kinds of crush injuries can occur when the roof of a vehicle collapses in a rollover accident. Or, whenever the compression of the body of a vehicle is so bad that it traps the driver/passengers inside. Crush injuries can also affect cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians who:
- Become trapped between vehicles
- Become trapped between a vehicle and another object, like a wall.
All road users have a duty to act responsibly and take reasonable care for the safety of other road users. If a driver acts recklessly and negligent, they may owe compensation to anyone suffering an injury from those reckless actions.
Finger entrapment crush injury claims
Doors are responsible for a considerable number of crush injuries to the hands and fingers. The best way to avoid injury is to keep your wits about you; however, there are certain steps that a building owner should take to stop their visitors from trapping their fingers in doors.
Children are especially susceptible to door trapping injuries since they may not be aware of the risks. A soft closure system – which stops the door from closing quickly – prevents injuries in schools, nurseries, and other public places.
At the hinge side, a finger protection device minimises the door and frame gap can eliminate the finger trap.
The law, in essence, requires employers, local authorities and building owners to identify hazards and protect people. Those that fail to do so may expose themselves to a compensation claim.
Crowd control crush injury claims
Crowds are a fact of modern life. Most of us encounter them at concerts, football matches, parades, and shopping sales every year.
Large numbers of people do not pose a threat when they are properly managed and controlled. But something may restrict the flow of pedestrians (for example, blocking off the exit). Then the crowd can exert a suffocating pressure known as crowd crush.
The organisers of large public events have a duty to protect visitors from any risks to their personal safety. That includes potential crush injuries, too.
An example of a crush injury at work case study
According to recent reports, a scotch whisky company had to pay fines of £50,000 after an engineer suffered a preventable machinery crush accident at work.
The engineer, who was from the Fire Protection Group Ltd (FPG), was on-site at the Chivas Brothers Ltd bottling plant in Dumbarton. He was trapped and crushed inside a machine and suffered injuries to his chest, shoulder, and leg. He also cut his head when an extractor device in the machine pinned him to the ground.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the FPG had failed to carry out a thorough risk assessment for inspecting the fire suppression systems inside the machine unit.
It also found that Chivas Brothers failed to give the necessary safety information to its own employees and FPG employees working on the units. Both companies had to pay fines of £50,000.
Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit at the COPFS, said: “This was a foreseeable accident resulting in injuries that could have been avoided if an agreed safe system of work had been in place and all relevant safety information had been shared.
“This prosecution and the sentence should serve to remind employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have serious consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”
Making a successful crush injury compensation claim
To make a successful claim, your solicitor must be able to prove two main things.
- First, that the cause of the accident is the fault of another person
- Second, that you suffered injuries as a direct result of the accident
Depending on the type of accident, any number of people in different occupations can be at fault, too. The negligent person could be an employer, a car driver, the local authority, or someone else.
The success of your claim hinges on the strength of the evidence. Your solicitor will gather and examine evidence to support your claim such as:
- Witness testimonies
- CCTV footage
- Machinery specifications
- Repair logs
What compensation can you seek for crush injury claims?
In crush injury claims, the victim may receive compensation for their injuries in the form of “damages” from the liable party.
Damages are there to return you to the position you were in prior to the accident. In general, compensation law divides damages into two main categories.
General damages cover the pain and suffering associated with your injury. This includes pain and discomfort at the time of the accident, and any future suffering from injury and treatment.
Damages for pain and suffering depends on the extent and duration of the crush injury. In essence, the more pain in the present and future, the higher the compensation.
You cannot work out the value of general damages simply by adding up bills and receipts. Determining the amount is subjective and open to interpretation. People experience crush injuries in different ways, and the Courts recognise this fact.
In general, we calculate compensation on the basis of your individual experiences. For instance, the loss of your ability to enjoy hobbies and other recreational pursuits, as well as the emotional distress your accident causes to you.
General damages can come either in the form of a:
- Court judgement
- An agreement via an out-of-court settlement between the involved parties
Insurance companies, lawyers, and Courts can usually come up with a fair settlement by referring to the Judicial College Guidelines. The Guidelines recommend an upper and lower limit for various types of crush injuries. Accordingly, they reference the level of compensation awards in similar cases.
Expenses with a direct relation to the accident and the injury are considered special damages. They include such items as medical treatment costs, lost income, travel costs, property damage, and the cost of medical aids. You can also claim for adaptations that you need to make to your home. For instance, the installation of wheelchair ramps or shower rails.
In more serious crush injury claims, you may have a claim for future, as well as past loss of income. This will be the case where you are unable to return to work as a result of your injuries. Or if you’re unable to work the same number of hours or at the same salary level. In this scenario, an employment consultant’s expert report can determine precisely what you can do in the future.
In truth, you can calculate special damages with reasonable specificity. But it requires documentation, or you won’t be able to include it in your claim. It’s therefore important that you gather all your medical bills. These may include treatment providers, wage slips, and receipts for purchases, replacements and repairs.
Our crush injury accident specialists will be able to give you a rough idea of the value of your claim. We can do this when you first contact us with details of your accident. Moreover, we’ll revise that estimate with the collation of medical evidence plus a better understanding of your injuries.
Who pays the compensation for crush injury claims?
The insurer of the person liable for the injury usually settles the claim. For example, the employer’s insurer will pay compensation if the crush injury occurs in a work accident. In contrast, a driver’s insurer will pay compensation if the injury occurs on the road.
Sometimes, we may not be able to trace the at-fault person. This might happen if a negligent driver flees the scene of the accident without leaving their details.
In most cases, it will still be possible to make a compensation claim. Various statutory bodies help to compensate the innocent victims of accidents where the at-fault person isn’t subject to a lawsuit. This includes the:
- Motor Insurer’s Bureau for the victims of uninsured or untraced drivers
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for the victims of crime
Where an employer has gone bust, their insurer must still settle the compensation claim in some circumstances.
How long do you have to make crush injury claims?
As with all personal injury claims, you’ve three years from the date of the crush injury to make a claim. Sometimes, you can make claims outside the three-year deadline but the Courts will only allow this in exceptional circumstances.
Family members can contact us for advice. Especially if their loved one suffers a serious injury and is unable to start the claim on their own.
One can also make claims on behalf of minors before the child’s 18th birthday, or their 16th birthday in Scotland. The child then has a further three years to make their own legal claim i.e. until they are 19 in Scotland or 21 in the rest of the UK.
With crush injury claims, we can help. Our No Win, No Fee funding arrangement means that you do not pay a penny if you lose your case. Accordingly, you don’t have to worry about the financial burden of making a claim at this difficult time.
To start a claim, simply contact us for a free, no-obligation conversation. Our panel of expert crush injury law firms will quickly figure out whether you have a claim. Furthermore, they’ll answer any questions you might have about the claims process.
Am I eligible?
If you have experienced a crush injury in the last 3 years, due to someone else’s negligence, then you will likely be eligible for compensation. Additionally, if you were a child at the time of the accident, you may have a longer period to claim.
Exceptions to this are for instance industrial disease or if you were a child at the time of the accident you may have a longer period to claim.
How much could I claim?
Each crush injury is different, so the amount of compensation paid out can differ between cases. Varying factors that can influence the final crush injury compensation figure include extent of your crush injuries, earnings missed out on, and future losses.
Our dedicated team of crush injury experts are on hand to give you an indication of how much you could claim.
How does the process work?
When making a crush injury claim, it’s important that understand what the process entails. That’s why we make the process as transparent & clear as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and notify the negligent party that you wish to begin crush injury claim proceedings. You will remain informed of any updates, with your solicitor negotiating on your behalf.