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Robert Camp v Rocare Building Services Ltd


Lupton Fawcett received instructions to act on behalf of the Claimant who had suffered an injury at work. The Claimant is a self-employed carpenter and was working with other contractors on the refurbishment of a building at the Defendant’s construction site. 

The Claimant was instructed to remove and dispose of panes of glass with the assistance of another contractor on site.  The Claimant was holding a large pane of glass when without warning, the other employee stamped on the glass causing serious injury to the Claimant’s left hand which was lacerated and required surgical repair.

The issue of liability was complicated in that the Claimant was self-employed and the contractor who caused the injury was employed by another company which subsequently dissolved without any known insurance. 

The Claimants intention was to pursue the reckless contractor and/or his employers, however, Lupton Fawcett advised as to better prospects of success against the principal contractor on the basis that they had control over work at the site which included oversight of the works, authorship and management of risk assessment and, systems of work and provision of protective equipment such as gloves.

The case was therefore pursued against the Defendant Company. The Defendants denied liability purporting that they reasonably sub-contracted the Site Manager role, did not employ the parties involved in the accident and, did not have control of the works being carried out and therefore were not liable for the accident.

Lupton Fawcett challenged this and proceedings were issued on behalf of the Claimant and the case prepared for Trial.

Judgment

After hearing evidence from the Claimant and the Defendant’s Contract Manager the Court accepted that the accident happened as described but was required to consider whether the Defendant should be liable given their remoteness to what happened.

The Defendant out-sourced to a Site Foreman who in turn sub-contacted the role which involved the setting up of the site on the day of the accident.  The Judge concluded that the Claimant should not have been required to dismantle glass partitions as his role was carpentry.

The Judge found that liability transferred to the Defendant under vicarious liability and considered that the principles in the recent case of Various Claimants v Barclays Bank Plc (2017) EWHC 1929 (QB) applied in all the circumstances. 

Judgment was entered for the Claimant in the sum of £15,000.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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