Russell-Cooke’s personal injury and clinical negligence team recently represented the family at the inquest at the West London Coroner’s Court into the death of 32-year-old mechanic Ashley Bullard on 28 November 2018. Ashley died of a head injury after he was trapped beneath a falling vehicle at work.
At the conclusion of the inquest, on 20 December 2022, the jury gave a narrative conclusion, and the Assistant Coroner proceeded to raise concerns in respect of the prevention of further deaths. The jury found failings on the part of Wheel Art, his employer; Liftmaster Servicing, the company that installed and serviced the lift; and Benpak Global LLC the lift manufacturer amongst others.
The jury found that Ashley Bullard had placed the vehicle on the recommended outer lifting points, but that the freeplay within the arms of the lift had contributed to the car not being held by the lift, contributing to the falling of the car resulting in Ashley’s death.
A Prevention of Future Deaths Report under Regulation 28 of the Coroners Investigations Regulations 2013 was issued by the Assistant Coroner Michael Walsh on 11 January 2023 and recommendations were sent to eight parties, including Wheel Art, Liftmaster and Liftmaster Servicing.
Grant Incles said: “No-one should ever have to wait for over four years to understand how a loved one died. That said, HM Assistant Coroner Michael Walsh's meticulous and far-reaching examination of the facts went a great way towards mitigating this family's pain. We say the facts exposed by the inquest established that Ashley’s death was entirely preventable, caused by the poor working practices of his employer as well as those responsible for supplying and maintaining potentially life-threatening machinery. That is something the family will never recover from, but at least they now know what happened.”
Ashley’s mother Jackie Bullard said: “Thanks to the Coroner’s investigation, we now have the answers we have needed for so long and can finally explain to Ashley’s children what happened. If the Coroner’s wide-ranging recommendations to improve future safety conditions in car workshops can prevent even one family having to go through what we have, we can feel that Ashley’s death wasn’t completely in vain. Ashley was such a valued member of our family who was dearly loved and is missed dreadfully.”