Family of man who fell from cherry picker awarded £300,000

Michael McArthur died after a tour coach struck the arm of the raised platform he was working from in 2018.

Family of man who fell from cherry picker awarded £300,000 iStock

Relatives of a “remarkable young man” who died after he fell from a cherry picker have been awarded more than £300,000 in damages.

Michael McArthur, 26, suffered catastrophic injuries after a tour coach struck the arm of the raised platform he was working from and he was thrown from the basket onto the road at Balkerach Street, in Doune, Perthshire, on September 27 in 2018.

The painter and decorator’s father, mother, sister and step-father raised an action seeking damages from the operator of the coach Timberbush Tours in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The court heard the keen Celtic fan, from Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, had some 800 mourners attend his funeral following the fatal accident.

A judge said: “At the following Celtic home game, a two minute silence was held at the 26th minute of the match, reflecting his age at the time of death, followed by lengthy applause.”

Lord Armstrong said: “On the evidence presented, the deceased would appear to have been a remarkable young man who brought people together and was much appreciated by his local community.

“I accept that in the context of strong family ties, his relationships with the pursuers (relatives) were particularly close and that, in consequence, his death has had profound effect, and has especially affected them,” he said.

Lord Armstrong said it was accepted that the primary cause of the accident was the failure by the driver of the coach to avoid an obvious hazard.

The judge rejected a contention that Mr McArthur had been contributorily negligent over the accident which resulted in his death.

He said: “It is accepted that there was no system of traffic management, in the form of traffic cones, around the cherry picker at the referable time.”

“While it is also accepted that the deceased was not wearing a harness, there was no evidence to the effect that he had been provided with one for the work in hand, or what difference the wearing of a harness would have made to the consequences of the accident.” 

“The evidence which I accept indicates that the deceased had an awareness of the need to work safely, and had previously refused to work in a manner required of him which he considered to be unsafe,” said the judge.

Lord Armstrong said: “I do not accept, therefore, that it was part of the deceased’s character that he would work in a manner which indicated a reckless disregard for risk in his working environment.”  

Liability was admitted in the action but it was contended that the sums sought were excessive and that the accident was caused by or materially contributed to by the deceased.

The judge assessed that Mr McArthur’s father, Robert, should receive £100,000 in damages for loss of society with the same amount for his mother. 

Compensation for his half sister was assessed at £45,000 with £75,000 for his step-father. 

Further awards totalling almost £10,000 were made to his father as executor.

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