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Shelving And Racking Accident Claims | No Win No Fee

By Cat Way. Last Updated 19th September 2023. Metal racking, shelves and brackets are often found in warehouses and factories. They’re used to store good and materials and can consist of heavy items, sometimes found on a pallet, which may require a forklift truck to carry.

Racking and shelving in thse environments can pose a risk to safety. For example, they may not be properly secured, or they may be defective. If you suffer an injury in an accident at work and suspect it was due to defective shelving or racking, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation.

In this comprehensive guide, we look at racking and shelving accidents. We explain how the claims process works, potential compensation payouts and how to prove fault.

However, if you’d rather speak with someone and start a claim today, why not reach out? Our No Win No Fee solicitors specialise in workplace accidents and they can help you too.

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Racking Accident Claims.

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What Are Shelving and Racking Accidents?

Shelving and pallet racking accidents are caused by a variety of different factors. Pallet racking and shelving form the base for assembling, handling and storing as well as transporting a variety of different goods. Shelving, racking, and pallets are used in many industries and settings. Some large-scale retailers which operate ‘warehouse style’ retail environments (such as Ikea) also have customer facing areas which use these type of racking systems.

Due to the weight of these racking systems, as well as the size and weight of goods which are often stored on them, commercial and industrial racking accidents are very serious. Racking accidents can cause serious injuries and long-term suffering as well as losses of income. Injuries range from simple cuts and bruises to more serious lacerations resulting from sharp edges and splinters. Victims have also suffered broken bones and crush injuries. These are caused by falling pallets or racking. They can also be caused by the incorrect transport, handling, and placement of goods on the shelving. Consequently, recovering from a racking breaker accident can take time.

Accidents can be caused by racking damage and all racking systems should be correctly maintained and regular inspections by SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) accredited external staff should be carried out. Racking inspections should include the criteria listed below. If you have had an injury due to shelving or racking, these are also great questions for you to provide answers to for your solicitor;

  • Has the racking been erected on a sound and level floor?
  • Is the racking installed according to manufacturer’s specifications?
  • If the racking is secured to a building, has the been tested by structural calculations?
  • Is the racking system fixed in place correctly, i.e. to the floor or a wall?

Failure to follow these criteria and guidelines can be the cause of racking accidents. Poor adherence to the correct health and safety procedures have previously resulted in death. In 2009 a paper manufacturer worker was killed in a racking accident. The victim was standing next to the racking when the shelving collapsed. This resulted in heavy boxes with till rolls falling on top of her. The victim was partially buried beneath this and died shortly after. An inquest found she had sustained multiple injuries.

Accidents Caused By Storage and Pallet Racking

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) keeps records of every type of workplace accident in the UK. The most common causes of racking accidents which lead to claims are;

  • Poor design, construction, or maintenance of the racking and shelving system.
  • Using inferior or non approved materials in a racking system.
  • Incorrect usage of pallet racking, using shelving and racking which is not suitable for a load type/ weight or improper handling procedures and methods.
  • Stacking goods improperly or too high, resulting in falling items or even whole stacks or pallets falling.
  • Using damaged pallets, shelving, or racking.
  • Using the incorrect type of system for an environment.

To avoid industrial racking accidents, managers and business owners should follow proper operational and health and safety guidelines. There are often a plethora of preventative measures which can be put in place to prevent these kinds of accidents from occurring

Shop And Supermarket Racking Accidents

Shop racking accident claims are one of the most common types of supermarket accidents. They generally involve products falling from a shelf, injuring a person or even a whole shelf collapsing. These accidents can happen to both customers and employees alike. These kinds of supermarket or shop accidents are usually caused by overloaded or inappropriately stacked shelves, shelves which have become top-heavy or unstable, poorly installed or maintained racking and shelf stackers not following correct procedures. There are cases where the supermarket or shops are not responsible for racking accidents. This could be when a customer places a heavy item back on the wrong shelf just before the accident and caused the collapse. If there was not enough time for the items to be removed before the accident occurred, the court may decide that the store’s owner(s) are not responsible for the accident happening.

If you have been injured in a shop, supermarket or other retail environment and the business is claiming it is not their fault, we will gather evidence such as witness statements and CCTV footage to help make your case stronger.

Can I Claim For A Racking Or Shelving Accident?

If you were injured in a racking accident, you could be eligible for compensation.  This applies to employees who had an accident at work, and members of the public making a public liability claim

As an employee, you are owed a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA). This means that your employer must take reasonably practicable steps to ensure your health, safety and welfare while at work. If you are injured in an accident in a warehouse because your employer failed in their duty of care, you might be able to seek compensation. 

As a member of the public, you are owed a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. This means that those in control of a public space must ensure your reasonable safety. For example, if you go into a supermarket and the shelves aren’t stocked in the correct manner, you could experience a shelving accident if an object were to fall on you, or the shelf collapses. 

In either case, you must meet the criteria for a personal injury claim. This means that you must be able to prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care. 
  • This duty was breached. 
  • You suffered injuries because of this breach. 

In addition to meeting the criteria listed above, you must file your claim within the limitation period. Generally, this is 3 years from the date of the accident. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as cases involving children (under 18) and those who lack the mental capacity to represent themselves. Call our advisors to discuss these and the eligibility criteria.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For a Racking Accident?

If you make a successful racking accident claim, you will receive general damages. This compensates you for your injuries and the pain and suffering they have caused you.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a document many legal professionals will use to help them value claims. It provides guideline compensation brackets for a number of different injuries. We’ve provided some of the figures listed in the 16th edition of the JCG in the table below. Please note that these are not guaranteed amounts.

Roll cage compensation table

Injury Severity Bracket Notes.
Foot Injury Extremely Serious £169,400 to £201,490 Amputation of both feet.
Finger Injury Severe £61,910 to £90,750 Amputation of one or more fingers.
Hand Injury Extremely Serious £55,820 to £84,570 Compensation varies with severity. It can include both hands, a single hand amputation or the loss of use of one or both hands.
Arm Injury Mild Injury £19,200 to £39,170 This amount covers injuries such as restricted movement and/ or disability over the arms. It covers injuries which will get better.
Back Injury Moderate (i) £27,760 to £38,780 Compensation amounts may cover damage to either ligaments or soft tissues in the back. It can also cover constant back pain and /or discomfort.
Knee Injury Moderate (i) £14,840 to £26,190 Higher payouts are awarded to disabilities such as muscular and cartilage damage and soft tissue damage. Claims also cover pain and suffering.
Shoulder Injury Moderate £7,890 to £12,770 Damage to tissue in the neck and shoulders, restricting movement in the arm or elbow for quite a while.
Neck Injury Mild Injury (ii) £2,450 to £4,350 This covers injuries akin to whiplash. Payments depend on the severity and long term prognosis.

Accident at work compensation could also include special damages. This compensates you for the financial losses you have suffered due to your injury. For example, if you are paralysed in a forklift racking accident, then you may need to make adjustments to your home, such as widening doorways to allow for a wheelchair. In this case, special damages may cover the cost of these adjustments.

To learn more about what you could claim for under special damages, or to get more help with your racking accident claim, contact our team of advisors today.

How to Start a Racking Accident Claim

Once we have reviewed your case and all the evidence for your claim the next step is to estimate whether you have a viable case. If so, we can then move on to finding the right solicitor for you. Filing your shelving or racking accident claim can be stressful with the wrong law firm. We aim to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. If your shelving injury is still causing you pain we might recommend seeing another doctor or getting further medical attention. Once you instruct us to proceed, we will register your case with the business and courts and start to make your claim for you.

No Win No Fee Shelving And Racking Accident Claims

One of the most difficult aspects many people face with racking accidents and the resulting injuries is their resulting financial situation. This can even dissuade people from making a compensation claim. Serious injuries can impact your ability to work, damage your earnings and leave you out of pocket before you even consider making a compensation claim in court.

To help clients through these situations, we offer a no win no fee agreement (also known as a conditional agreement). This means we completely remove any financial risks that you might incur when making a claim. This can help to remove a lot of the stress around hiring a solicitor and making a compensation claim.

Call For Free Advice And To Start A Claim

At Legal Expert our experienced solicitors handle all kinds of personal accident and injury claims on a regular basis. Whether you are an employee of a factory, warehouse or shop or a member of the public, if you have had a racking accident, we can organize a free consultation session in which you can talk about your case.

Get in contact with Legal Expert today. You can contact us by filling in our contact form or using the chat feature on our website. You can also get in contact with us by calling us today on 0800 073 8804. We are ready and waiting to talk to you today and start helping you with your racking accident claim.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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