Accident at work claims
If you are injured in a workplace accident, the thought of bringing a compensation claim may seem daunting – especially if you are having to deal with the repercussions of your injury. However, if you are hurt in an accident at work due to someone else’s negligence than you have a right to bring a claim.
What are the most common workplace injuries?
In total, 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury in the UK in 2019/19, according to the most recent Health and Safety Executive statistics, while 111 were sadly killed while at work.
Workplace accidents can arise in a number of was but some of the most common cause of injuries include:
- Slips, trips or falls on same level (19,219)
- Injured while handling, lifting or carrying (12,344)
- Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object (6,935)
- Acts of violence (5,638)
- Falls from a height (5,214)
- Contact with moving machinery (2,445)
- Strike against something fixed or stationary (2,488)
- Struck by moving vehicle (1,483)
- Exposure to, or contact with, a harmful substance (926)
- Injured by an animal (629).
What duties does my employer have to keep me safe?
Under health and safety laws, employers have a legal duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. This duty applies whether you work full-time, part-time or on a self-employed or agency basis.
If they breach this duty and you are injured as a result then there’s a good chance that you will have a valid claim for compensation.
Steps they need to take include
- conducting regular risk assessments that identify all risks that might injure you in your workplace;
- explaining the risks to you;
- taking steps to minimise the risks;
- giving you, free of charge, all the protective clothing and equipment you need to do your job safely;
- providing you with adequate supervision and the training you need to carry out your work safely;
- carrying out regular checks to any machinery on their sites to ensure it is safe to use;
- ensuring the work environment is clean;
- making sure you take the required daily and weekly rest breaks;
- giving you access to first aid equipment, drinking water and washing facilities.
How do I prove negligence?
To successfully bring a compensation claim, you need to prove that the person responsible for your injuries was negligent. This means showing that:
- they owed you a duty of care (most employers do);
- that they breached that duty; and
- that you were injured as result.
For most workplace accident cases, negligence would be found if the employer responsible had failed to act how a ‘reasonable man’ or the famous ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ would act in a similar situation.
What evidence do I need to bring a compensation claim?
It is a good idea to gather evidence from the accident scene and afterwards, which an experienced personal injury lawyer can use to build and strengthen your case. This includes:
- the entry in the workplace accident book;
- any CCTV footage of the event, which your employer must legally hand over;
- names and contact details of any eyewitnesses;
- records of any medical treatment required following the accident;
- photos of the accident scene and your injuries;
- a written account of the accident and how your injuries have affected you;
- details of any expenses which have arisen from your injury, and those that will arise in the future, such as lost earnings because you needed to take off work to recover.
How can a solicitor help?
If your employer has failed to abide by their legal duties under health and safety laws and you suffer a workplace injury as a result, you should get in touch with a specialist personal injury lawyer straight away.
They will help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case, refer you to a medical expert to assess your injuries and the effect they have had on your life, and strive to win you the financial settlement you deserve.
What are the time limits for bringing a workplace compensation claim?
You should start the claims process as soon as possible after your accident because, although have three years under the Limitation Act 1980 to bring a claim from the time the severity of your injuries manifest themselves, it’s advisable to bring your claim while the accident details are still fresh in your mind and in that of anyone else involved.
What is the procedure for bringing a workplace accident claim?
Your specialist personal injury solicitor will ordinarily bring your claim using the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims which sets standards and procedures that parties to a claim must follow when bringing a claim and the time limits involved.
They aim to encourage the parties to exchange information at an early stage, consider using a form of alternative dispute resolution to settle the claim, and assess whether you have needs that could be met by rehabilitation, treatment or other measures.
If your claim is particularly complicated or of very high value it may fall outside the pre-action protocol: your solicitor can advise you of your options if this applies to you.
How much compensation will I receive?
The compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover, but could include damages for:
- pain and suffering (mental or physical);
- loss of earnings;
- medical expenses;
- loss of potential earnings;
- out of pocket expenses;
- adaptations required to your home.
Will I bankrupt my boss if I bring a compensation claim?
All employers are legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance to cover any compensation claims made. This means you do not have to worry about leaving your employer in dire financial straits if you make a compensation claim against them, as the insurance company will pay.
Can my employer fire me if I sue?
You should not worry about your employer firing you or treating you adversely if you make a claim, as to do so would be illegal, entitling you to take your employer to an employment tribunal.