Did you know that in the UK at least more people are killed in accidents in the home than die on the roads? 76 people are killed in domestic accidents every week compared with 66 in road accidents, according to Department of Trade and Industry figures and more than 2.8 million people needed hospital treatment following home accidents.
So who is to blame for this epidemic of domestic disasters?
Unless you believe in natural selection weeding out genetic incompetents, I think we should point the finger at TV home improvement and DIY programmes.
These frankly encourage people to take on what are clearly over ambitious projects and building work by themselves when they really shouldn’t tackle opening a can of tuna unassisted! These TV shows naturally focus in their limited time segments on people getting on with the job, rather than showing the time it takes to plan the work.
To be expected I suppose, as watching someone check their toolbox and run the stud detector over walls just to make sure they are not drilling into pipes for half an hour would hardly be gripping viewing (although possibly more entertaining than East Enders).
These programmes also don’t cover the skills that are needed to use tools safely. Stuff that isn’t covered in schools any more with the demise of woodwork and metalwork. Practical subjects (like home maintenance, car maintenance, gardening, building, DIY, basic electrical and plumbing) have never been as highly regarded as traditional academic subjects. The fact remains that an ability to read a history of the Punic Wars in Latin will not help you wire a plug! Others maintain that the reason there are so many DIY accidents is that there aren’t enough honest, reliable tradesmen you can trust to work on your property, so you are forced to do it yourself.
Obviously, if any injury you suffer in an accident at home is your own stupid fault through not using tools correctly or not following manufacturer’s operating or installation instructions then there’s no possibility of any form of compensation claim. If however another tradesman or firm is responsible for the injury you sustain, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
If the accident can be proven to be due to a defective product like a drill or sander that caught fire or step ladders that were inherently faulty, then you would be also entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim against the manufacturer or the person who sold it to you assuming you followed the operating instructions to the letter.
If the accident resulted from unsatisfactory work carried out in your home by third parties then you could make a personal injury compensation claim against the company or tradesman who carried out the work. Things like a newly fitted double glazed window frame that falls onto you or causes you to fall outward when you try to open it (has happened!). If you live in a council owned property or you rent privately, then the landlord has an obligation to ensure the property is properly maintained.
You could make a personal injury compensation claim against the council or the private landlord if you suffer a personal injury resulting from the poor condition of the property (falling down stairs due to badly fitted carpet or handrail coming away from the wall for example).
The author, Joe Johnson, works for a DIY store and has thankfully never had to make any injury compensation claim for working with the tools his store sells
Injury compensation – http://www.compensationclaims.net/injury-compensation/