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Handicap on the labour market

The Smith -v- Manchester award – or the handicap on the labour market award explained.

Recently I acted for a client who sustained an accident when his shoulder was injured at work. He was off work for three months. I claimed for his loss of earnings during this absence AND I was also successful in increasing his damages by an extra £10,000 even though he had returned to his job.

This type of claim is known as a Smith -v- Manchester award – and also known as a handicap on the labour market award.

Smith -v- Manchester Corporation (1974) was a case in which Mrs Smith tripped and fell injuring her elbow whist working in an old people’s home. Despite her ongoing injuries Mrs Smith returned to work. Her employers undertook to keep her in employment for as long as they could. Despite this undertaking the Court of Appeal increased her award by £1,000 to take into account her loss of future earning capacity.

A Smith -v- Manchester claim (also known as handicap on the labour market award) can be made provided you can show the court that:

(i) at some point in the claimant’s life, there is a serious risk that they will find themselves on the open labour market; and
(ii) the claimant’s disability would place them at a disadvantage in comparison with an able-bodied person.

The way the claim is made is that a medical expert is asked whether or not he believes that the claimant is likely to be disadvantaged on the open labour market in the future. To do this the expert will consider the nature of the claimant’s employment, the claimant’s qualifications, length of service and length of future expected working life together with the injury itself.

Awards of compensation can range from the equivalent of three months net income to more than 2-3 years.

If you have been injured at work please contact me for a no-obligation phone consultation. I am a personal injury solicitor and an expert in securing compensation for people who have been injured in the workplace.

I work on a no win-no fee basis so you will never have to fund any part of your claim.