Well, not surprisingly you can’t claim accident compensation if you are a one man business and you suffered an injury that was the consequence of your own failure to manage risk, organise a safe working environment for yourself and take the necessary steps to ensure your own health, safety and welfare. Essentially, you can’t make a personal injury claim for compensation against yourself.
However, if you are employed to work on a farm on a full-time, part-time or casual basis or if you are a migrant or transient worker, even if you are a relative of the owner of the farm, you might be able to claim compensation if the accident that caused your injury wasn’t your fault and a third party can be demonstrated to be to blame. That all sounds very reasonable and straightforward. However determining that a third part was responsible can, depending on the causes and circumstances of your accident, be quite a complicated process.
Many people injured in farm accidents are not health and safety experts and usually have little idea about the law surrounding workplace compensation claims – so, once they are well enough, their best bet is to ask a specialist accident claim solicitor to assess whether there are grounds for a personal injury claim can be made. That same solicitor, if the claim can be made, can then undertake the research and amassing of the evidence necessary for negotiating it. The injured farm worker is then able to sit back and concentrate on their recovery and let the legal expert handle the matter.
An example of a straight forward case would be if you had suffered an injury as a result of being thrown from a tractor when the ground subsided under its front wheels. Was that just an unfortunate accident? Were you and the tractor just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Well, as far as the sudden subsidence went perhaps you were – no human agency can probably be blamed for that. However your employer has a duty of care in law to ensure as far as reasonably practicably your health, safety and welfare and also to provide a safe workplace.
That duty extends to ensuring that the vehicles you use on the farm are well maintained, safe to use and fit for the purpose to which they are being put and that you’ve been trained to use them. The reason for you being thrown from the tractor in this hypothetical example was that although you had fastened the seat belt provided, which should have saved you, the belt material was rotted and anchor points badly corroded due to normal wear and tear and they failed when needed most. Your employer had not carried out regular checks of the seat-belt and your accident was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of this negligence. So, as far as your claim goes – game on!
Tim Bishop is senior partner of specialist Salisbury Solicitors, Bonallack and Bishop. For legal advice and assistance with a medical negligence or accident compensation claim, call them directly on 01722 422300 or visit their website at http://solicitorsinsalisbury.co.uk