Saturday 27 April 2013

Example of why removal of strict liability makes sense

Some claim that the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, part of which removes strict liability is "a return to Victorian times" and there is no such thing as a compensation culture. Here's an example of why the removal makes sense.

A manager at a high street fashion shop is suing her employers for more than £1 million in damages, claiming she suffered crippling injuries while bending down to pick up a dropped earring.

Safaa Pate, 31, was. running a concession at the 'High Wycombe branch of House of Fraser in January 2009, when she says she suffered "irreparable" back injuries while moving a display unit to retrieve an earring. 

In a writ lodged at the High Court in London she said she had to undergo a spinal fusion operation and was left with no feeling in her left leg and foot. She also said that she had not been able to work since. She is suing Coast Fashions Ltd, of Stanton Harcourt, Oxon, the owner of the concession. Caroline McColgan, her barrister, claimed Coast was guilty of breaches of health and safety legislation and had "failed to take reasonable steps to provide her with a safe system of work".

The company denied any wrongdoing, and said Ms Pate from Bray, Berks, "should have used a stick" to retrieve the dropped earring and argued she was "the author of her own misfortune."

Coast admitted that it "owed Ms Pate a duty of care as her employer at the material time" but denied responsibility for any harm she suffered. Lawyers for the company said: "Ms Pate's work was light work. She had to move clothes but she was not required to lift or carry anything of substance. It is denied she was required to move the gondolas or that this formed any part of her employment."
The case is expected to come to trial in November

Source: Daily Telegraph 26th April 2013

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