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A box falls one metre and hits a womans head

  1. Mar 12, 2010 #1
    I need some scientific assistance. A woman at work had the misfortune of a box falling and hitting her head. Fortunately she was fine, the box was not heavy and she had no injuries. Two years later i have a solicitors letter demanding money for fictitious injuries.
    Is it possible to get an indication of the force of impact in relation to the weight of the box?
    The weight of the box could be 5 / 10 / 15 kg
    The surface area of the base of the box that impacted with her head is 540mm x 400mm
    The length of drop is one metre from a stationary position
    The womans head is average size.
    The box continued to fall to the floor after the impact with her head.
    The contents of the box was items of clothing which would have been spread over the surface area of the base of the box. It seems to me that only a portion of the force of the falling box would impact on the head as the box would change direction and fall to the floor. Could anything like this be compared to the force of impact of a football hitting the head from a corner kick? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2010 #2

    tiny-tim

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    Get an identical box, with identical contents, and repeat the accident a few dozen times.

    Make measurements.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2010 #3
    Totally pointless exercise.

    A box falling on the head, at work, without the employer taking all posible preventative measures = a health and safety nightmare. It doesn't matter a jot if the box was filled with lead shot or feathers.

    Owing to the fact that turning ones head slighty too fast can cause a human neck injury, any object falling on it (of any semi-substantial weight) can concevibly cause injury. Sucks to be you that there was someone around to take to court over it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  5. Mar 13, 2010 #4

    tiny-tim

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    It does if the injury she now has wasn't caused by the accident at all. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Mar 13, 2010 #5
    Indeed, and thats the only comeback he has. If this person didn't see a docter immediately afterwards (ok mabe not immediately but within a sensible time range) then that shows a lack of concern on her part.

    Doing a measurement to show 'it couldn't have hit her hard' is a flimsy defence at best and non existent at worst. As 'not hard' may have caused some irreperable damage. Does't matter if it did or it didn't, but the perception that it could is enough.

    And as an asside 5kg is not an insignificant weight to have hitting your head.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2010 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Exactly what I was going to say. This is an indefensible position.

    Fight it on grounds of why it took them two years, and whether they have sufficient documentation to prove the injuries were caused by this incident.
     
  8. Mar 15, 2010 #7
    Perhaps I should give a better insight of the incident so I might get a little more sympathy. A young boy was throwing part filled boxes of clothing onto a first floor landing area. He told the lady to wait, as he threw the last box she took it upon herself to walk past, the box did not go up properly and came back down. She was immediately attended to by the first aider who did not give any treatment as she said she was fine. Being a caring company we suggested we run her to casualty to be on the safe side. She insisted she was fine and wanted to return to work. I asked her to take the rest of the day off and visit her doctor the following day. She took the day off but never went to the doctors, instead that night she attended the company Christmas party where I had laid on a free bar. After the party she went up town clubbing.

    Two years later when her solicitor sent her for a doctors report and she said the box had caused her to bite her tongue, made her nose bleed, she suffered with headaches for twenty four hours and vomited shortly after the accident.

    We are insured against accidents at work, if this woman had suffered in anyway I would have asked the insurance company to settle her claim, but I regard this claim as bordering on fraud. I have never a member of staff have an accident at work in fifteen years. I would really appreciate some help if it is possible.
     
  9. Mar 15, 2010 #8

    DaveC426913

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    Sounds like that's your defense then.
     
  10. Mar 15, 2010 #9
    The woman had an existing medical problem which she is stating has been amplified by the box incident. She told the examining Doctor that the box was very heavy.
    The court will have to decide on two questions
    1. Having been told not to enter a particular area was she responsible for the accident? If the answer is no because the verbal method of telling her to stay out of the area was inadequate then the court would have to decide on the next question
    2. Would this falling box have amplified her existing complaint?
    To reduce costs I am trying to fight this myself but her no win no fee solicitors are estimating their costs at 11500 even though they are only attemping to claim between 3000 to 5000 for the girl.
    I was hoping I could demonstrate that if the box weighed say 10kg which was distributed over a large surface area then it seems sense to me that not all that weight would impact on the head. Having said that, that does not account for increased force from the fall of 1 metre.
    I am allowed to ask the doctor questions in writing before the case goes to court, bare in mind that his report is based entirely on what she told him and that it is the truth.
    Maybe if the doctor thought the impact was not what he first thought then his report could get amended
     
  11. Mar 16, 2010 #10

    DaveC426913

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    If you allow the case to go to a level of 'would the box have hurt her', you are opening the door to the prosecution using it for their own purposes. And they will win that point; they automatically have the benefit of the doubt.

    You might make a better case by attempting to get the weight of the box dismissed as irrelevant, thereby preemptively poking a hole in the prosecution's case.

    You could go all hyperbolic on their butts, saying the equivalent of "Look, it wouldn't matter if it were a piano that fell - she shouldn't have been there. It's a warehouse environment, and she was told to avoid the area. Unless you think we should get out of the clothing industry and sell only feathers and nerfballs..."
     
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