Bakers Solicitors

Turning a denial of legal liability into an admission

Our Client, Mr R was carrying out voluntary work for a charity. Working with a colleague, they were required to carry a three-seater sofa with electrically reclining seats from the second floor of the building in which the store was located, down to the shop floor, in order to place it in the window area of the store.

The gangway through the shop floor was narrow, approximately three feet wide and they had to lift up each end of the sofa to chest height so as to prevent it from striking furniture positioned on either side of the gangway. They then attempted to carry it through the store. The Manager and Deputy Manager of the store were present at this point and did not offer any assistance or guidance even though it was clear that Mr R and his colleague were struggling with the task.

As they manoeuvred the sofa along the gangway, Mr R caught his foot on another piece of furniture that was on display at the side of the gangway. Our client stumbled, twisting his right knee and sustaining injury.

Medically, our client sustained a Grade I medial collateral ligament sprain injury to his right knee and a posterior hamstring muscle tear to his right knee. In light of pre-existing degenerative arthritis, symptoms of pain, discomfort and loss of mobility directly attributable to the accident resolved over the course of a year. However the accident also accelerated the wear and tear by a period of one to two years.

Legal liability was originally denied. Although the claim lacked evidence on both sides, the insurers' Solicitors changed their minds just before trial and the claim settled for £3,000. This shows that even if you volunteer and are injured that it is worthwhile claiming and charities have to be insured by law and insurers will pay genuine claims.