Can sole directors make injury claims against their own company?

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The recent case of Brumder v (1) Motornet Service and Repairs Limited (2) Aviva Insurance Limited ( 2013) explored this issue.

In this case Mr Brumder was the sole director and shareholder of a company (Motornet) which dealt with servicing motor vehicles. He was climbing down to ground level from a hydraulic ramp in the workshop when the compressor mechanism failed causing him to sever his finger.

He brought a claim against his company, Motornet and his insurers, Aviva for personal injury, loss and damage. At first instance it was accepted that the defect in the compressor was the cause of the accident. The court concluded that there was liability on the part of Mr Brumder for failing to give consideration to Health and Safety matters in the workshop and therefore he was responsible for the accident and assessed contributory fault at 100%. He therefore received no compensation.

Mr Brumder appealed this decision. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision at first instance and stated that it fell within the principle identified in Ginty v Belmont Building Supplies Limited (1959)  and Boyle v Kodak (1969). The Court held that Mr Brumder had breached his Directors duties under the Companies Act 2006 Section 174(2) (a) by virtue of the fact he paid no attention to health and safety issues. Mr Brumder was therefore a wrongdoer in this context could not derive advantage from his own wrong doing.

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