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Landmark compensation payout for family of accident at work victim

Client Stories

Express Solicitors’ Nicola Barrett secured a landmark compensation payout for the family of Daniel Askew, a young man who died at work due to employer negligence.

Acting on behalf of Daniel’s bereaved mother, Nicola secured a payment amounting to £260,000 – far beyond the usual expected bereavement award of £10,000.

A young man falls to his death

Daniel Askew was a 22 year old man from Capel Iwan, Pembrokeshire, working for FJ Chalcroft Construction.

In November 2003, Daniel tragically fell 10m to his death after leaning on an unsecured handrail on the mezzanine area of a cold store under construction at the Belle Eau Industrial Park, Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire.

Despite a gradual decline in incidents and stringent workplace legislation, deaths from falling are still an all too common cause of death in the UK construction industry.

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Fighting for fair compensation for a grieving family

Angela Askew, Daniel’s mother, approached Express Solicitors to pursue a civil claim against FJ Chalcroft, Eurolec and Caunton Engineering, another onsite contractor.

One of the legal issues facing Angela was the fact that, since Daniel was over the age of 18 when he died, and Angela was not financially dependent on him, the family was not entitled to the usual bereavement award of £10,000. However, this wasn’t going to get in the way of securing compensation for a family who had just lost a son. Nicola Barrett sums the situation well:

“Building and construction sites can be very dangerous places and with many employers failing to carry out simple preventative health and safety measures, they are a common place for accidents.

“This was a tragic accident, which resulted in the death of a young man with his life ahead of him but it could have been avoided.”

Because legal proceedings were being brought before three different companies, each with a stake in the conditions that led to Daniel’s death, legal issues had the potential to get convoluted and drag on.

Nicola argued that FJ Chalcroft in particular were guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which state employers must ensure welfare of employees and not expose them to risk.

Victory for the Askew family

Eventually, Nicola and her team secured a significant compensation payout as a result of proceedings. Nicola summed up the details of the victory:

“Liability was disputed by all three defendants, Court proceedings were issued and a settlement of £5,000 was received from FJ Chalcroft.

“Magistrates at Nottingham Crown Court also fined Norfolk construction company FJ Chalcroft £260,000 and ordered it to pay £80,000 in costs.

“FJ Chalcroft pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

“This was about so much more than financial compensation, it was about cementing the practical application of legislation put in place to save lives. This victory will hopefully help prevent another family going through the tragedy of losing a loved one.”

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