Are claims for lifting injury in an office possible? I wish to claim for an injury while lifting a cabinet, but my employer says that my sore back is due to a pre-existing condition, and not from lifting.
Provided that you had not contributed to your accident in any way through negligence, claims for lifting injury in an office should be perfectly valid. However if you have a pre-existing condition this may complicate procedures to some extent.
Office workers are often not used to performing heavy lifting duties, and consequently many are injured performing such duties due to unfamiliarity in the appropriate techniques. These accidents are often the result of inadequate training in lifting methods — or indeed none at all. This often happens as office workers are less likely to perform heavy lifting duties than those who must perform such duties on a daily basis. In the scenario that you are required to carry out heavy lifting, the relevant training is necessary. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that your training was adequate and that you understood it. If adequate training is not provided — or if the manual handling duties are not properly supervised — this will be seen as negligence on behalf of your employer, making him liable for your injury.
It is important to remember that not all claims for lifting injury in an office are due to an employer’s negligence. In the case of your back injury, this will depend upon whether your employer was aware that you were unsuited for the task. Your claim will have to be backed by your medical history, and if it transpires that you failed to alert your employer to the pre-existing injury the compensation to which you may be entitled can be reduced to reflect your own negligence. Compensation in this scenario is not impossible, but it can be affected.
It is important to note with claims for lifting injury in an office that while a deterioration to a pre-existing condition can be compensated, you cannot claim for the original injury if your employer is not liable. As determining liability for this accident may be complicated — and as your employer seems likely to contest your claim — you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor. A solicitor can help determine which parties are liable for your accident, advise you on the strength of your claim, establish the compensation to which you may be entitled and recommend whether the claim is worth pursuing. As these claims may take some time to construct, you are advised to contact a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.