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Germaine v Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust [2013] All ER (D) 248 (Jan) - 31/01/13


The Claimant was a nurse who brought a claim for a serious back injury sustained in a lifting accident in the course of her employment with the NHS. The Claimant lifted some heavy seats in a hospital waiting area, replacing them so that elderly and frail patients could sit when waiting for appointments at a clinic. The Claimant suffered from a bulging disc as a consequence. The injury led to the ending of the Claimant's employment. The NHS trust admitted primary liability but argued that the Claimant had contributed to her injury through her own negligence.

The High Court held that there was no merit in the argument that the Claimant had contributed to her own injury. The Claimant had not received health and safety training relevant to lifting chairs or other similar objects. She was not negligent in failing to wait for help, since no help was going to arrive in adequate time. It had not been reasonably practicable for the Claimant to avoid lifting the seats.


  • High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • Friday, 15 March 2013