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Home > What We Do > 90 years of Law > 1970s Highlights

1970s Higlights

Wallhead v Ruston and Hornsby Ltd (1973):

In this case, Thompsons made a successful compensation claim on behalf of a worker who had developed chronic bronchitis and emphysema through work before and after 1950, which worsened through work after this date.

His employer was held liable as although they did not cause his illness they aggravated it.

This is still the leading case on constructive knowledge.

Smith v Manchester Corporation (1974):

Mrs Smith, who worked in an old people's home, tripped and fell injuring her elbow. She had a continuing disability but returned to work. The employers undertook to keep her in employment for as long as they could properly do so. In spite of the undertaking, the Court of Appeal increased the award by £1000 to take account of loss of future earning capacity.

This landmark case, has resulted in extra accident compensation in many thousands of cases. In every accident claim since this one, where there is a continuing disability leading to an increased risk on the open labour market - such as that faced by Mrs Smith - extra damages (a Smith and Manchester award) can be argued for.

Thompsons have also pioneered awards for loss of congenial employment. Such awards are now commonplace where a claimant is forced by his or her injuries to retire early or change to less enjoyable work

Before the 1970s, compensation for noise-induced hearing loss was almost unknown, however towards the end of the decade an increasing number of cases were being put forward. Mostly these were from workers in engineering, shipbuilding and similar industries and primarily through their unions. Thompsons dealt with a great many of these cases and was the main architect of the National Deafness Scheme that meant the involvement of lawyers was limited but the injured got good compensation. Many thousands of deaf workers were saved the trauma and delay of a court case by the Scheme.

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