05 July, 2016
Richards -v- Co-operative Group Ltd
17 May 2016
The Claimant alleged that he sustained an injury to his back during the course of his employment when he slipped whilst climbing over wet pallets in the back of an HGV.
The Claimant did not report the accident until some weeks later, following which he provided various differing accounts of the accident circumstances. At trial the Claimant was cross examined on the mechanics of the accident. He admitted that he was trained to move pallets and incredulously he also confessed that he did not report the accident until some weeks later as he had been trying to recall what could have caused the exacerbation of his back symptoms. His medical records revealed that he had a long standing back problem which he had failed to divulge to his employer and he eventually conceded that his back had been symptomatic prior to the alleged accident although he had not relayed this to his medical expert.
The judge found that the Claimant had simply not proved that any injury had occurred during the course of his employment and dismissed his claim.
It is often suspicious when a Claimant fails to report an injury at the time of the alleged incident. Employees are trained that they must immediately report accidents so that they can be recorded in the accident book. At trial, the defence was able to undermine the credibility of the Claimant and ultimately persuade the Court to dismiss the claim.
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