Injured Workers Must Now Turn Detective

Controversial changes to rules governing breach of health and safety at work were introduced on 1 October 2013. Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act switches the burden of proof from the employer to the employee in many instances of injury. This is likely to mean an uphill struggle for people who are injured at work to claim the damages they need to put their lives back on track. However, it does alleviate some of the burden on responsible employers who do take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees. Until 1 October 2013, damage claims were based on a breach of an employer’s statutory duty of care to protect his employees and these claims were relatively straightforward to prove. Generally speaking, the employee will now have to show that the employer has been negligent for a claim to succeed which “tilts the playing field in favour of negligent bosses and away from injured workers.” “Many people injured through no fault of their own will find it extremely challenging to secure justice” continues Matthew Stockwell, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). “The employer holds all the important information about any incident, such as maintenance records or previously reported dangers and risks. The injured employee will have to prove the case against his employer which can be extremely difficult when he does not have access to this kind of information. Many people will inevitably shy away from making claims altogether. The negligent employer will then avoid making amends, leaving the state to pick up the tab for medical care and any benefits arising from the injury”. Little wonder that the Act has also been dubbed “a charter for rogue bosses.” Whether you are making or defending a personal injury claim, we can help.

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About Paul Neilly

Paul’s first degree was a BA Honours in Financial Services following which he spent five years working for a large insurance company as a pensions specialist. He then completed his law degree at the University of Strathclyde and Diploma in Legal Practice at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. Paul subsequently joined Mitchells Roberton as a trainee in July 2006 and qualified as a solicitor in September 2008. Principally concerned with civil litigation, Paul specialises in contract disputes, landlord and tenant issues (commercial and residential), debt recovery, family law, employment law and personal injury claims. He also handles cases involving Adults with Incapacity. Paul regularly appears in the Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland and has experience of appearing before Licensing Boards and instructing matters in the Court of Session. Being a general civil litigator Paul is keenly aware of the need to keep step with developments in the law and legal education. This led Paul to join the committee of TANQ, the Trainee and Newly Qualified Society of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, in which role Paul currently organises seminars and networking events for its members. Paul is married with a young son and daughter. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, reading and watching sport, particularly following the exploits of the national football and rugby teams, although this is more of a vocation than a source of enjoyment.

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