Clyde & Co defends first HAVS proof in more than a decade

Rachel Carr

Clyde & Co has successfully defended the first Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) proof in Scotland in more than 10 years and the first ever disease proof run in the All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

The pursuer raised an action for £100,000 plus expenses claiming he had developed HAVS as a result of exposure to excessive vibration throughout his employment with the defender.

Associate Rachel Carr of Clyde & Co’s legacy team was instructed by her client to act for the defender.

From the outset, the court noted several difficulties with the pursuer’s evidence and criticisms were also made of the pursuer’s evidence about the symptoms from which he suffered.

There was no evidence from the pursuer on the magnitude of vibration nor any evidence on the particular tools used by the pursuer. Ultimately, there was no reliable evidence regarding the amount of vibration.

The court determined that the onus of proof was on the pursuer to establish the vibration produced by the tools in question; not the defender.

Furthermore, the court did not accept that the pursuer had HAVS and the pursuer failed to establish diagnosis. The court concluded that the pursuer had not suffered any loss, injury or damage through any breach of duty of the defenders and the defenders were accordingly absolved.

Ms Carr said: “This is an incredibly significant judgment for the handling of HAVS claims in the future. The decision not only clarifies the burden of proof in HAVS actions but it clearly sets out what a pursuer must establish prior to raising an action.”