“I wouldn’t have injured my back, but for my employer’s negligence.” Which case won?
Injured worker drives truck with defective seat and develops back pain
A man worked as a truck driver from September 2011 until May 2014.
Periodically, he was assigned a truck with a defective seat. He drove this truck for six weeks in 2013 and again from early 2014 until 19 May 2014.
On that day, he informed his shift supervisor that his back was sore and they agreed that from the following shift he would drive a different truck with a fully functioning seat.
He consulted a GP on 29 May 2014, who noted that he had a ten day history of back spasms and also that the seat on the truck was broken.
On 30 May 2014, the GP certified the truck driver for a period of three and a half weeks off work.
Injured worker switches trucks, but becomes permanently incapacitated after sneezing
After returning to work, the truck driver resumed driving, but in a truck with a fully functioning seat.
However, over the next few months, his back was quite sore after finishing his shifts.
On 22 December 2014 while getting ready for work, he was sitting on a couch putting on his socks, when he sneezed and felt the “most horrendous pain” across his lower back and down his left leg.
He nevertheless went to work that day, but that night could not put any weight on his left leg. He contacted his supervisor who sent him to hospital.
The truck driver was ultimately diagnosed with a spinal disc protrusion, or herniation. He was found to be permanently incapacitated and has not worked since.
He was just 32 years old at the time.
Injured worker sues employer for negligence
The truck driver sued his employer for negligence.
The employer admitted it owed a duty of care and that the seat in the driver’s truck was defective, meaning it had breached that duty.
However, the employer denied causation, saying the defective seat was not the cause of the truck driver’s injury.