Chris Richards successfully represents prison officer injured in workplace accident
May 10, 2021
Chris Richards from Exchange Chambers has successfully represented a prison officer who was injured in a serious workplace accident.
The Claimant was working at a prison as a prison officer. The prison had a gym for staff and prisoners to use. The Claimant in the moments before the accident had been using a particular piece of gym equipment. As the Claimant was using the equipment, a cable on the machine snapped. The cable had been attached to a heavy bar above the Claimant’s head. The bar fell down and struck the Claimant on the head. The Claimant suffered an unpleasant head injury with the symptoms lasting for several years.
The Claimant brought a claim against the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice argued that the prison had been taking reasonable care of the equipment. Even if the Claimant was able to show that the prison had not been taking reasonable care of the equipment, the Ministry of Justice argued that the Claimant would need to show that a reasonable system of maintenance would have prevented the accident. The Defendant argued that the cable could have snapped at any time.
The Ministry of Justice instructed experienced counsel and solicitors and fought the claim all the way to trial.
The trial was listed in Manchester County Court before a District Judge. Chris prepared detailed skeleton arguments, and made extensive submissions.
Chris argued that the prison had not been taking reasonable care of the equipment. Chris also argued that the Ministry of Justice were the ones who had to show that a reasonable system of maintenance would not have prevented the accident. Chris made careful reference to important authorities, including Ward v Tesco Stores Ltd  1 W.L.R. 810 and Hall v Holker Estate Co Ltd  EWCA Civ 1422.
The District Judge agreed that the prison had not been taking reasonable care of the equipment, and that this had caused the accident. The successful Claimant was awarded over £14,000 in damages and costs.
Chris Richards is a member of the personal injury department at Exchange Chambers, and was instructed by Rachel Lowe of Thompsons Solicitors.