If you sustained injuries in an accident at work and you were not responsible but think your employer was negligent or because a work colleague made an error of judgement, you could be entitled to seek personal injury compensation. Even if your injuries are minor and you do not need to take time off work, you could still be entitled to file a claim against your employer.
Not taking time off work following a workplace accident that leaves you injured, does not affect your right to seek accident at work compensation, to find out more, please read on.
Accident at Work Statistics
Health and Safety Executive Accident at Work Statistics for the period from 2016 to 2017 showed that 1.4 million employees suffered from some kind of work-related medical condition and that 144 workers were involved in fatal accidents in the workplace.
Other statistics published by a Labour Force Survey showed that 555,000 workers suffered injuries while at work and that under RIDDOR, 71,062 employees sustained reportable injuries in the workplace. The cost of ill-health and injury in the workplace is estimated to be around £15 billion for the same period.
Should I Take Time Off Work If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
You are not obliged to take time off work in you suffer injuries in an accident while working and it does not affect your ability to claim compensation if you do not take time off. As such, the decision to be off work lies entirely on the extent of your injuries and your ability to work. However, there are several things to consider before making a final decision of whether to continue working or not if you were involved in an accident at work which resulted in you being injured. These are as follows:
- The sort of injury you sustained and the extent of your injuries
- What your job entails – should your job be physically demanding you may not be able to work during your recovery. However, if you job is less demanding you could carry on working and not take any time off
- The recommendations of a medical professional. A doctor may advise that you need time off to recover from your injuries and to undergo rehabilitation if required. It is also worth noting that if you return to work too early, it could exacerbate your injuries
If you do need to take time off work, you must abide by your employer’s procedure when it comes to reporting any absences from the workplace. You can “self-certify” yourself but only for seven days after which time a doctor would need to provide an official medical note to your employer.
What Happens if I Do Not Take Time Off Work Following an Accident in the Workplace?
Should you choose to carry on working after suffering an injury in the workplace, you must ensure that the incident is officially recorded in an Accident Report Book or by some other official means which could be a letter or personal email to your employer.
An employer should do all they can to help you recover from any injuries you sustained by ensuring the work you are tasked to do is not too demanding. Your employer should also set in place reasonable measures to reduce the risk of the same accident at work happening again to another person or work colleague.
If I Carry On Working After My Injury at Work, Would it Affect My Claim?
It should not affect your accident at work claim if you remain at work providing there is sufficient evidence that the incident occurred in the workplace and that it was due to the negligence of an employer or because of an error on the part of a work colleague. With this said, even if you believe you are partly responsible for your injuries sustained at work, your employer could also be held partly liable which is referred to in law as “contributory negligence”.
The sort of evidence you would need to prove your claim includes the following:
- Medical reports
- Accident book records
- Witness statements and their contact details
- Photos of your injuries and where the accident occurred
- CCTV footage if available
It is worth noting that if you do not take time off work following an injury sustained in a workplace accident, you would not be able to claim “lost wages”, but you would be able to claim other losses and damages which includes out of pocket expenses incurred due to being injured in an accident at work.
What Level of Compensation Could I Get For an Accident at Work Injury?
The level of accident at work compensation you may be awarded if your case is upheld would depend on how severe your injuries are bearing in mind that lost wages and future earnings would not be included in the amount you receive. The reason being that you continued to work after being injured. With this said, you would be able to claim general damages and special damages which are explained as follows:
- General damages are awarded as a way to compensate you for any workplace injuries you sustain. In short, these damages cover the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you may have to endure having suffered a workplace injury
- Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any out of pocket expenses you may have incurred because you were injured in a workplace accident. However, as previously mentioned, if you do not take any time off work after being injured, you would not be able to include loss of wages and future earnings but you would be able to claim medical and travel expenses
Should I File an Accident at Work Claim Against My Employer?
All employees have rights which includes when suffering any sort of injury in the workplace. As such, even if you do not take any time off to recover from your injuries, you have the legal right to claim compensation from an employer providing your case meets the required criteria. This is that the incident occurred in the last three years and that you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained.
However, if you think you may be partly responsible for the accident at work injuries you sustained, you should still discuss your claim with an accident at work lawyer. The reason being that even if you were partly responsible, you may be able to file a contributory negligence claim against your employer because they could be held partly liable for the injuries you suffered.
Employers are legally bound to hold liability insurance to cover accidents in the workplace that result in employees being injured. The policy also covers employees who develop work-related medical conditions. In short, when you make a personal injury claim against an employer, it is the insurance provider that handles the case from the outset whether your claim is disputed or not.
Should your personal injury claim be upheld, it is the insurance company that pays out the compensation you are awarded. It is also worth noting that most personal injury claims never go before a judge with the majority of liability insurance providers prefering to come to an “out of court” settlement with claimants.
Do I Have Workers Rights If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
Your worker’s rights are clearly defined in the law and employers must abide by them. If they do not, employers would be acting unlawfully. In short, your employer cannot object or prevent you from seeking compensation from them if you are injured while carrying out your job. Should you be treated unfairly or detrimentally because you file an accident at work claim against your employer, you should discuss your concerns with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. The reason being that you could take further legal action out against your employer.
Your worker’s rights if you are injured in a workplace accident are as follows:
- The right to seek compensation for any workplace injuries you sustained
- The right to file an accident at work claim without having to worry about losing your job
If an employer is deemed to be acting unlawfully because they attempted to prevent you from seeking compensation for workplace injuries you sustained, you should contact a lawyer immediately. You could have a strong case to file more legal actions against your employer on top of the accident at work claim.
Does An Employer Have Responsibilities in the Workplace?
All employers have to make sure that a working environment is safe, clean and tidy for you to work in. Employers must abide by Health and Safety Executive regulations and laws that are set in place to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees, workers and other people who visit a workplace. Should an employer choose to ignore regulations or show negligence in any area that puts you at risk of being injured or harmed while you are carrying out work for them, they would be acting unlawfully and therefore be held liable for any injuries you sustained in the workplace.
Your employer’s responsibilities towards you in the workplace include the following:
- To ensure that a working environment is kept tidy, clean and safe
- To ensure that you are provided with adequate and ongoing training so that you can carry out the jobs you are tasked to do safely
- To ensure that tools, equipment and machinery you use is in good working order and correctly maintained
- To ensure that you are provided with the correct personal protective equipment when needed to carry out a job safely
- To ensure that risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis and that all reasonable measures are put in place to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees and other people
- To ensure that you are provided with detailed working practices and procedures
Should an employer not do any of the above and you are injured while carrying out a job whether onsite or offsite, your employer could be liable for any injuries you sustained. As such, you should seek legal advice from an accident at work lawyer who would offer essential legal advice on the strength of your claim.
Is There a Time Limit To Making an Accident at Work Injury Claim?
You would have 3 years to file an accident at work injury claim against your employer. However, this statutory 3 year time limit can begin at different times depending on the circumstances surrounding a workplace accident. This is detailed below:
- The statutory 3 year time limit begins from the date you suffered a workplace injury
- The statutory 3 year time limit begins from the date you are diagnosed as suffering from any sort of medical condition that can be linked to an injury you sustained in an accident at work
- The statutory 3 year time limit begins from your 18th birthday should the workplace accident that left you suffering from an injury have occurred prior to this
Although 3 years seems like long enough to file a personal injury claim, collecting all the proof and information required is time consuming, more especially if you need to gather witness statements, medical reports and other vital information that would strengthen a claim against an employer. Should your employer choose to deny your claim, investigating their claims can also be time consuming. In short, it is far better to begin an accident at work claim sooner rather than later.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Work-related Accident Claim?
You cannot lose your job because you seek compensation for injuries sustained at work nor can an employer treat you unfairly for doing so. Should your employer object and make life so difficult for you that you feel you have to resign from your job, you should contact a solicitor because you may be able to file further legal action against your employer and be compensated not only for the injuries you sustained, but for unfair dismissal amongst other things too.
What Advantages Can A Solicitor Offer Me on My Accident at Work Claim?
As with most legal processes, accident at work claims can be complex and proving liability for any injuries you sustained, whether minor or more severe, can prove challenging. Should an employer choose to deny responsibility, proving this not to be the case takes time and legal expertise. Negotiating the legal pitfalls is also something to bear in mind because if you get things wrong at the outset, it could slow down your claim considerably and may even result in not getting the accident at work compensation you may deserve.
In short, having the experience of an personal injury solicitor work on your claim offers many advantages right from the outset and this includes the following:
- Your claim would be assessed in a no obligation, free initial consultation
- Once happy your case against an employer is valid and that the chance of winning your accident at work claim is strong, you would not have to pay the solicitor for representing you because they would offer to work on your case on a No Win No Fee basis
- You would not have to find the money to pay for ongoing fees as your claim progresses
- You would be examined by an independent specialist who would produce a detailed medical report on the injuries you sustained and the prognosis
- You would be made aware of the level of accident at work compensation you may receive in a successful claim as early as possible
- You would receive interim payments should your claim be complex and therefore a final settlement takes longer to reach
- Should your injuries be severe, specialist therapy would be arranged for you on a long-term basis
- The level of accident at work compensation you receive in a successful claim would be fair and acceptable to match the level of the workplace injuries you sustained
These are just some of the benefits and advantages an accident at work lawyer can offer you when seeking compensation for injuries you sustained while you were at work, whether you had to take time off or not.
If I Don’t Take Time Off, Would a Solicitor Work on My Accident at Work Claim?
Even if you choose not to take time off work following an accident that left you injured, a solicitor would take on your claim providing it meets the necessary criteria. The solicitor you contact would need to assess your case against an employer to determine whether they could be held responsible for the injuries you sustained due to negligence. It could be that the accident was caused by a work colleague, in which case, your employer could still be held liable.
When you contact an accident at work solicitor, they would offer you a free initial, no obligation consultation. You would be given the opportunity to state your case against an employer so that the solicitor can assess whether you could claim accident at work compensation from them for the injuries you sustained. Should this be the case, the solicitor would typically represent you by signing a No Win No Fee agreement with you. In short, you would not have to find the money to pay for their legal representation.
When you sign a No Win No Fee agreement with a solicitor, it allows them to begin investigating your accident at work claim by contacting your employer and their liability insurance provider to let them know of your intentions. Should your employer refuse to accept liability, the solicitor would immediately investigate their claims with an end goal being to get your employer to accept the fact they are responsible for the workplace injuries you sustained, no matter how minor or severe they are and whether or not you took time off to recover.
The solicitor would begin negotiations with your employer’s insurers because all employers in the UK are legally required to hold valid liability insurance. In short, it would your employer’s insurance provider who communicates with the solicitor directly whether your claim is disputed or not.
If your employer accepts responsibility for the injuries you suffered in an accident at work, the chances are that the insurer would offer an initial settlement figure which your solicitor would recommend you do not accept. The reason being that they believe a more substantial final settlement could be reached and as such, negotiations would continue until an acceptable level of workplace injury compensation is reached which would match the level of pain, suffering and loss of amenity you had to endure.
If you would like more information on the accident at work statistics in the UK, please click on the link below where you will find essential reading on the subject:
If you were injured in the workplace and would like more information on personal injury time limits, the following link provides more information on when the statutory 3 years may begin: