If you filed an accident at work claim to seek compensation for an injury you sustained and your case was unsuccessful, you may be asking yourself if there are any options open to you. It could be that your employer offered a strong argument which proved that they were not responsible for the injuries you sustained but you still feel the ruling was incorrect because a key piece of evidence was left out or overlooked. It could even be that a mistake was made during the process of filing your accident at work claim.
If any of these aforementioned reasons apply to your case, you could have the right to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident because you have the right to appeal a court decision in an accident at work claim.
The Reason Why Claims are Unsuccessful
The majority of personal injury claims are settled before they are heard by a judge because they rarely reach a court. The reason being that most claims get resolved during what is referred to as the “Pre-action protocol” stage of the process which can either be through resolution or by way of an offer on the part of an employer’s insurance provider. However, there are various reasons why your accident at work claim may not be successful which are listed below:
- Your employer may have been able to establish that they were not liable for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- You do not have sufficient proof to prove liability
- An procedural error occurred during the process
- A key piece of evidence was misunderstood or left out of the process
- You were awarded compensation, but the amount was unsatisfactory
Appealing Your Claim If It Was Not Successful
You could have grounds to appeal a court decision on your accident at work claim. However, you would need to be granted permission from a higher court and the criteria that your claim must meet is as follows:
- The higher court believes that your appear boasts a real chance of succeeding – or
- There is another compelling reason for your appeal to be heard
Should your appeal through a higher domestic court is unsuccessful, you have a final option which is to take your case to the European Court of Human Rights, providing that you believe your “human rights” have been breached.
You have 21 days to file a request to appeal a court decision from the date the ruling was made pertaining to your accident at work claim. With this said, because the appeals process is so complex, it is far better to seek legal advice from a solicitor beforehand. A solicitor would be in the best position when it comes to assessing whether you have a strong case to appeal against a court ruling and they would be able to let you know the chances of success.
The Appeal Process Explained
The process of appealing a personal injury claim ruling can be found in Part 52 of the court’s rules regarding procedures. You would need to submit an Appellant’s Notice to the higher court where the ruling that has been made by the original court would then be reviewed by a higher court judge. The review would take into account all the information and evidence that is provided to them. It is worth noting that during this stage of the appeals process, no witnesses are typically called and you would not be able to introduce any new evidence either. The judge in a higher court would come to the following decisions which they have the power to do:
- To affirm, set aside or vary a judgement or order given or made by a lower court
- To refer an issue o claim for determination by a lower court
- To order a new hearing or trial
- To make orders for interest to be paid on payments
- To make cost orders
Should an offer have been previously made (part 36 offer), it must not be disclosed to a judge in a court of appeal.
What Are My Chances of Winning an Appeal?
A solicitor who worked with you on a No Win No Fee basis would have agreed to represent you when making an accident at work claim because they were satisfied that you had a strong case against a negligent employer. As such, should you lose your claim, the solicitor would also feel that you have a strong chance of winning an appeal should you decide to go down this route.
A solicitor would establish whether a procedural error occurred and if this can be proven, the chance of an appeal being successful are greatly increased. Other reasons that your claim may have failed and which a solicitor would check prior to filing an appeal against a court ruling, are listed below:
- Information that proved your employer’s liability was not previously available
- A key piece of evidence was not well understood
- The amount you received in compensation did not meet reflect the level of injuries you sustained
Seeking Legal Advice Prior to Making an Accident at Work Claim
Because appealing a court decision on an unsuccessful accident at work claim is such a complicated legal process, it is far better to seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor before attempting to seek compensation from an employer through the courts. A solicitor has vast experience in handling work-related personal injury claims and would assess your claim and the chances of it being successful.
Should a solicitor be satisfied that you have a strong case and that it can be proved that your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm while you were carrying out work for them, a court or your employer’s insurance provider would not dispute your claim.
As such, your accident at work claim would stand a much better chance of being successful and you would be awarded an amount to reflect the injuries you sustained in the workplace due to employer negligence.
The Level of Compensation Was Not What You Hoped to Receive
When filing an accident at work claim, a solicitor would always inform you on the amount of compensation you may receive and would do so at the earliest opportunity. However, all personal injury claims are treated as individual, unique cases and as such, the amount you may be awarded could be less than you had hoped to receive. If you are unhappy with the amount of compensation you are awarded, you have the option to appeal a court’s decision but as previously mentioned, this can be a complicated legal process that is best left up to an experienced lawyer.
Providing Sufficient Evidence to Prove Your Accident at Work Claim is Valid
In order for an accident at work claim to be upheld by a court in the first instance, you must provide enough evidence that the injuries you suffered in the workplace happened through no fault of your own. However, even if you think you may be partly responsible or fully responsible, you should still gather as much evidence as you can before providing this proof to a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims.
The evidence that you would need to provide is detailed below:
- A record of the accident as reported at the time in the accident report book or through other official means
- A record of the report that was sent to RIDDOR if the injuries you sustained were “reportable”
- A medical report detailing the extent of your injuries which must be provided by a medical professional whether your own GP or a hospital doctor
- Witness statements and their contact details
- CCTV footage of the accident if available
- Photos of your injuries before you receive any treatment
- Photos of where the workplace accident occurred
Does Your Employer Bear Part of the Responsibility for the Accident at Work?
Following a workplace accident that leaves you injured, a responsible employer would thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led up to the incident occurring. This investigation would help establish liability and whether your employer could be held partly responsible for the injuries you sustained rather than them being fully responsible for the accident occurring.
If this should be the case, it is known as “contributory” negligence and as such, the amount you may be awarded whether by a judge in court, or by your employer’s insurance providers would reflect the level of responsibility both your employer and you bear for the injuries you sustained.
If the decision that you are 25% liable, then you would be awarded 25% less compensation than if you sustained your injuries through no fault of your own but rather through employer negligence. A lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims would establish the level of “split liability” that would apply to your case before entering into negotiations with an insurance provider should your claim be settled out of court.
What Happens if My Appeal is Turned Down?
As previously mentioned, should a judge in a higher court turn down your right to appeal a decision that was reached by a lower court with regard to your accident at work claim, you can request that your case be heard by the European Court of Human Rights. But you would need to prove that your human rights were breached for your case to be heard.
The solicitor who represented you would provide essential advice on whether you should take your claim to the European Court of Human Rights, bearing in mind that the legal process is even more complex and therefore you would need an experienced lawyer who would be willing to take on your case.
It is far better to seek legal advice from an experience accident at work lawyer prior to filing an accident at work claim against an employer you believe failed to keep you safe from harm in the workplace. An experienced solicitor would first assess your claim during an initial, no obligation consultation which is normally free of charge. Should a lawyer believe your accident at work claim would not be successful, they would advise you as soon as possible whether this is over the phone or in a meeting should your case be of a more complex nature.