I used to be a teacher at a unit for disturbed young women. There was a rule that no member of staff could be left alone with two or more young women. On the day of my accident I was due to teach three young women. Members of the care staff brought them to the classroom and then left. Suddenly I heard the click of the door closing and realised that I had been left by myself with these three young women. I tried to attract the attention of the staff who had left the room, got up and hurried towards the door. As I did so I tripped over a chair, I hurt myself and developed fibromyalgia. Do I have a claim?
Claimants often succeed in cases like this because there is no proper system and no adequate risk assessment has been carried out. However, in your case it is clear that there was a system in place, but unfortunately that system failed. I think you will be successful in establishing that your employers were liable. It is true that they may not have anticipated that you would be injured in quite the way that it happened, but they ought to have foreseen that if you were left unattended there could have been injury suffered, such as if you had been attacked or threatened by the girls. You did what you did and quickly because you were in a position of potential danger. It was therefore entirely understandable that you would try to hurry to the door and therefore your accident was caused by a known source of danger. The fact that the specific trip could not have been foreseen will not help your employers.
Of course, you still have the difficult issue of establishing that your fibromyalgia has been triggered by the initial injury or its aftermath, but that is the same in all cases of fibromyalgia following on from accidents and really needs to be looked at by solicitors who understand fibromyalgia claims.
This article appeared previously in Fibromyalgia magazine
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