Fatal Personal Injury Case

We acted for Mrs F who was the widow and administratrix of the estate of her deceased husband who died in an accident at work in 2013.

Mrs F’s husband worked as an independent contractor for a firm delivering farm food and grain. It was Mr F’s job to take a loaded lorry of animal feed and grain to deliver to farms up and down the country. Mr F had received very little training with regard to carrying out his job and in particular, there was a total lack of training on health and safety aspects of his position.

On the day when he died, he was delivering animal feed to a farm which he had not previously visited. He positioned his lorry close to the silo to discharge the animal food stuffs and connected the appropriate pipes. He then lifted the trailer part of the lorry in order to deliver the grain. Unfortunately the lorry rose to a height which meant it came into contact with live power cables which resulted in electrocution to Mr F. 

The personal injury claim was brought against the employers for lack of appropriate training and placing Mr F in a dangerous position. The claim also proceeded against the farm upon whose land Mr F was, when delivering the foodstuffs, as the overhanging cables were not obvious, there were no warning signs notifying visitors of the danger or the fact that the cables carried electricity and were live.

An inquest was held into the death of Mr F which we attended on behalf of his wife and family. This was an extremely important hearing as a great deal of evidence was produced by both defendants which they had consistently failed to give despite being repeatedly requested. The evidence showed a complete lack of appreciation of health and safety law by both defendants, leaving Mr F in a hazardous position. The breaches were so severe that a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive resulted in a conviction and fine against the owner of the farm.

Despite the clear fault on behalf of the employer and the owner of the farm, neither defendant admitted liability. However, the claim was settled with each party contributing 50% each for just shy of a six figure sum. 

Although neither defendant would admit liability and maintained their defences throughout the proceedings, the persistence of Wright Hassall meant that Mrs F was properly compensated for the premature death of her husband.  

About the authors

Jeanette Whyman Partner

Jeanette is head of the medical negligence team. Having worked previously for Hospital Trusts, Jeanette has extensive knowledge of hospital practices and procedures. This means that she is able to assess a case speedily and to anticipate the other parties' position – this enables her to put forward the best possible case on behalf of her client.

Rachael Flanagan Legal Executive

Rachael deals with various types of personal injury accidents ranging from road traffic accidents, accidents at work, trip and slips and claims involving animals.