No compensation for work-related suicide

The wife of a worker who killed himself because he couldn’t bear the health effects of a workplace accident has failed in a bid to win compensation for his death.

Thomas Corr was aged 31 when he severed most of his right ear at the Luton IBC car factory while working on the production line.

He subsequently suffered from headaches, tinnitus and post traumatic stress disorder, which resulted in severe depression and he took his own life in May 2002.

His wife Eileen Corr asked for £750,000 damages because of the pain and suffering caused after the industrial accident.

IBC Vehicles admitted liability for the workplace accident, but denied that its responsibility extended to cover him taking his own life six years later.

In his summing up at the High Court, deputy judge Nigel Baker QC said: “The company were in breach of their duty of care to take reasonable care to prevent injury to Mr Corr.

“That duty did not extend to a duty to take care to prevent his suicide. The damages sought to be recovered in relation to the suicide falls outside the scope of the defendant’s duty of care.’

Mrs Corr was awarded £85,520 – the amount is less than the £170,000 she was offered to settle out of court. The judge refused an application for an appeal.

In 2003, Hazards magazine warned that there were hundreds of work-related suicides in the UK each year that went unrecognised and uncompensated, and said suicides, heart attacks and stroke would be the major occupational diseases of the 21st century.

 Occupational suicide is listed as an official work-related disease in Japan.

Comments are closed.