News and insight from our Personal Injury team
Accidents at home
- AuthorCristina Parla
The one place you expect to feel safe is home so when you engage a specialist to undertake any big projects or home renovations, you rightly expect to receive the highest level of service. However, this does not always happen, and substandard and negligent workmanship can lead to accidents and injuries at home.
Unfortunately, I have seen an increased number of personal injury claims against independent contractors arising out of accidents at home.
Example of cases I have successfully pursued:
- A personal injury claim against a plumbing company which failed to correctly install a shower. Some of the screws were not sufficiently tightened which caused the heavy glass door to come off its roller. The door hit the claimant as she was exiting the shower which resulted in soft tissue injuries of the neck and back.
- A personal injury claim against a kitchen company who had been engaged to design and install a bespoke kitchen at the claimant’s property. The fixtures used to mount the kitchen cupboards were inadequate (they were too small) and as a result, one of the heavy wooden units fell, and the cupboard contents fell out and hit the claimant on the head. This resulted in a head injury and early onset of epilepsy.
It does not necessarily follow that any negligent workmanship will be apparent straight away. In most cases the effects of faulty work will often take some time to become evident. In both the cases mentioned above, the accidents occurred several months after the original installation had taken place.
Liability was denied in both claims and expert witness evidence had to be obtained. This involved the instruction of an independent engineer to provide a report on the likely cause of the accident. The reports covered the results of a site inspection and an examination of any components, fixtures and fittings that were used during the original installation. Once it had been established that there had been negligence, we were able to secure compensation for our clients.
It is common to instruct an expert engineer many months down the line, so it is very important to keep any original fixtures and fittings available for inspection. It is also important to take photographs as soon as practically possible. This type of evidence can be crucial to any personal injury claim you intend to pursue.
Claims against independent contractors can get complicated if several companies are involved. For example, the claim could be against any one (or all) of the manufacturer, the designer and/or the contractor who carried out the work. Expert evidence can assist and usually pinpoint who is most likely to blame, assuming of course that there has been negligence on the part of the defendant(s).
In addition to any claim for the injuries suffered, it is possible to include any out-of-pocket expenses incurred such as the cost of having the work re-done and damage repaired.
If you think you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim following an accident at home, and for a free initial consultation, please get in touch either by telephone, email or by using our online smart form to tell us about your accident.