Don’t try this at home

Accidents can happen. But if they cause harm, the CSP can help you and your family seek compensation. Robert Millett reports

Most organisations strive to safeguard the health of their employees by implementing stringent health and safety policies.

Unfortunately, despite such precautions, accidents can and do happen and the cost of any injury can prove high - both financially and emotionally.

Employees are legally entitled to seek compensation if an accident is a result of their employer’s negligence.

But few CSP members realise that they may be able to claim compensation with the help of the society’s lawyers, Thompsons, even if the injury is not work-related.

Trick that went wrong

In October 2007 Kate Robertson, a band 6 physiotherapist from Bristol, met some friends at a local bar where a magician was performing.

She volunteered to assist with a ‘Russian roulette’ style trick involving three paper cups on a spinning platform. Hidden beneath one of the cups was a sharp, deadly-looking metal spike.

After dramatically shuffling the cups around, the magician grabbed Kate’s wrist and positioned her hand so it hovered, prone and ready to plunge, above the platform.

The suspense grew as he steered her hand over each receptacle. Then suddenly, with a climactic flourish, he slammed her hand down.

Kate screamed. The audience gasped. The pointed, bloodied tip of a four-inch ‘nail’ protruded gruesomely from the centre of her hand. The trick had gone horribly wrong. With an immediate reflex action she recoiled, sliding her hand off the spike.

Thankfully, the blade had cleanly penetrated her palm, resulting in little blood loss and only minor structural damage. The wound was dressed at hospital, Kate received physiotherapy and spent a week off work, hoping the injury would heal without complications.

Unfortunately, this was not the case and over the next few months she found herself experiencing long-term problems.

I started to get ongoing pains and nerve trouble; reduced sensations in my fingers and electric shock sensations. I still get them now but it’s much more manageable and less frequent,’ says Kate.

Following the accident Kate wasn’t sure how to proceed. She felt wary of taking legal action and didn’t want to become embroiled in what she thought of as the ‘suing culture’. Additionally, she was unsure of what costs might be involved.

However, after contacting the CSP she found out that all members benefit from a free personal injury service. She was put in touch with Thompson’s legal services. As a result she subsequently received £2,000 in compensation.

‘I rang the CSP to see what they could offer and they gave me Thompson’s number. It was really simple and the process was really easy. I was dreading it but there was no stress.’

After attending an initial consultation to explain what had happened, Kate’s injury was later assessed by a medical professional.

Other than these two meetings she was only required to stay in email contact with her lawyer and obtain witness statements from her friends.

‘I found Thompsons to be a hugely helpful and hassle-free service and I didn’t have to pay a penny.

 It’s worth giving them a ring, even if your injury is not related to work, as they will give you a free consultation and then work out if you are entitled to anything,’ says Kate.

High success rate

Thompsons’ success rate in all personal injury cases is more than 98 per cent and the latest figures show that the total compensation won by CSP members in 2010 topped £100,000.

Individual amounts received by members ranged from £1,750 to a massive £28,000.

Yet despite these statistics, only 26 members approached Thompsons last year for advice on personal injury claims.

Jess Belmonte, CSP national officer, monitors the claims made by members and keeps track of the outcomes.

She says many CSP members are still unaware of the full benefits of the service and its encompassing scope of eligibility.

In particular, an often overlooked fact is that the service is available not only to CSP members but also to their relatives, in the case of non-work-related injuries.

‘We are keen to raise awareness of this benefit for CSP members. The service is easy to access and it’s completely free for you and your family,’ says Jess.

She also advises members to contact Thompsons promptly after any accidents occur or as soon as long-term problems from an injury become apparent, as in most cases there is a six-year time limit within which claims must be made.

All CSP members and their relatives (including unmarried partners) are entitled to access Thompsons’ free personal injury service, whether the injury happens at work or elsewhere.

Leaflets about this service are currently being distributed to CSP members. fl

Further information

For further details please freephone Thompsons on 0800 587 7519(available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday).

Or visit their website:  and click the link to ‘claim on line’.

Robert Millett

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