I recently had a matter in which a worker claimed damages for a food allergy caused by exposure to that particular food as part of a manufacturing process involving that ingredient.
Although the concept of the allergy was relatively new to science, the allergy was medically accepted. If the worker ingested the particular food, he would suffer an anaphylactic reaction.
The worker started with the employer in 2010. He made his claim for damages in 2020 as a result of exposure to the particular substance over a period of time from 2010.
I discussed the claim with the employer as part of our investigations. Fortunately, the Employer Representative seemed to recall that the worker commented in his pre-employment medical that he was already sensitive or allergic to the particular substance. Even more fortunately, the employer was able to retrieve the pre-employment medical which did indeed confirm the worker had already been sensitised to that product and knew that to be the case in 2010.
Our own independent investigations uncovered that the worker had been exposed to that substance in an earlier food manufacturing role in Japan.
Once we disclosed the pre-employment medical to the worker's solicitors, the worker’s solicitors withdrew from the claim. Although the worker initially intended to proceed with his damages claim himself, he later agreed to withdraw it.
Cases are often won or lost on the quality of the recordkeeping but this case was a very good example of not only the ability to retrieve the vital document, but the ‘corporate memory’ recalling the evidence which enabled us to defend the claim.
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