If you were injured in a workplace accident or you developed a work-related medical condition and feel that your case is taking too long to settle, you may be wondering whether you can do anything to help speed up the legal process. When it comes to accident at work claims, seeking legal advice sooner rather than later can speed up what is often a lengthy legal procedure considerably.
Instructing an Accident at Work Solicitor to Handle Your Claim Against an Employer
As previously mentioned, the sooner you instruct an accident at work solicitor to investigate your claim, the sooner your case would be handled and settled. A lot of the time, injured parties delay filing a personal injury claim for a number of reasons which are as follows:
- A worry of how seeking compensation for a workplace injury may affect how an employer may react and a fear of losing a job or being made redundant
- Not knowing who could be responsible for the workplace accident and whether the injured party is partly to blame for the injuries they sustained
If you feel anxious about filing for compensation, discussing your concerns with an accident at work lawyer could help you understand the legal requirements and the process of determining who could be held liable.
A solicitor who has vast experience in handling accident at work claims for employees understands what is required when it comes to respecting pre-action protocols which are critical.
Should an employer deny liability, the sooner a solicitor can commence an investigation into their responsibility for the injuries you sustained or the work-related medical condition you developed, the sooner they would get your claim heard and settled.
Respecting the 3 Year Time Limit Associated with Accident at Work Claims
There is a strict 3 year statutory time limit that must be respected for an accident at work claim against an employer to be valid. Gathering all the evidence and proof required takes time and effort. Therefore, any sort of delay in instructing a solicitor could mean that you may run out of time. In short, if you would like to see an earlier settlement on an accident at work claim, it is far wiser to contact a lawyer as soon as you can when you are injured in a workplace accident.
Another thing to bear in mind is that a solicitor would need to investigate your claim before they would agree to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis. This can take time so it is best not to wait for too long or to wait for the last minute before deciding to seek compensation from an employer.
Gathering the Required Proof and Evidence When Filing an Accident at Work Claim
The sooner you can gather all the proof and evidence that is needed when filing an accident at work claim, the better and the faster a solicitor would be able to determine whether you have a strong case and that your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained.
You should keep all receipts for the expenses and other costs you incurred as a direct result of having been injured in the workplace. This includes travel costs and medical expenses. When it comes to losses, you can claim for damage to any property or belongings too. The accident at work solicitor you contact would typically send out a “pack of documents” which you would need to fill out and return to them as soon as possible. This would include the following:
- The instruction form
- A verification of ID form
- The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) otherwise referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement
A solicitor would not commence work on your accident at work claim until they receive these documents duly filled out. In short, the sooner you return the documents to a solicitor, the quicker they can start investigating your case.
Getting a Detailed Medical Report of the Workplace Injuries You Sustained
If you had to be taken to the Accident and Emergency Department of a local hospital to be treated following an accident at work, you would already have a medical report which you should request from the hospital where you were initially treated.
However, you should also request for the solicitor you contact to arrange for you to be examined by an independent consultant or specialist as soon as possible. The detailed medical report would be crucial when it comes to establishing the extent of the injuries you sustained. The information in the report would be used as a basis for the amount of general damages you could be awarded in a successful personal injury claim against your employer.
Dealing With Your Employer’s Liability Insurance Provider
When it comes dealing with your accident at work claim, this would be up to your employer’s liability insurance provider who would handle all aspects of the case from the outset. Insurance companies are renowned for their delay tactics which includes paying out compensation to injured parties. As such it is best left up to an accident at work lawyer when it comes to communicating with the insurance company who may challenge your claim.
The insurance company may offer an initial low-ball settlement which your solicitor would typically advise you to refuse, knowing that it would be more than possible to get the insurer to up the amount at a later date. It is worth noting that “early settlements” offered by insurance companies are typically made “without prejudice”. In short, this means that even though a settlement is offered, it does not mean that your employer or the insurance company admits liability for the injuries you sustained in the workplace.
An experienced accident at work lawyer would be in a position to know whether it is wiser to accept an “early settlement”, or whether you should hold out for a higher offer because they believe there is a strong possibility of this happening. Your solicitor may even think that your accident at work claim should go to court, bearing in mind that this would mean that it would take considerably longer for a settlement to be reached.
How Long Does it Usually Take for an Accident at Work Claim to be Settled?
Every claim is different and as such, the time it takes to reach a settlement can vary from case to case. Should your employer deny liability for the injuries you sustained at work, it would take longer than if they accept responsibility. With this said, most accident at work claims are settled in anything from 6 to 9 months.
There are several factors that could affect how long it would take for your claim to be settled which are detailed below:
- The extent and seriousness of the workplace injuries you sustained or the work-related medical condition you developed
- The circumstances leading up to the accident at work that left you injured or suffering from a medical condition
- How long it takes you to gather all the medical evidence and reports that are required
- Whether your employer denies liability for the workplace injuries you sustained
How The Workplace Injuries You Sustained Could Affect the Duration of an Accident at Work Claim
The extent of the injuries you suffered in an accident at work is a key factor as to how long it could take to reach a final settlement. The solicitor who represents you, may recommend that you wait until the full extent of your injuries are known and to only accept a settlement when these are officially recorded.
In short, it could take anything from a few weeks to several months for the full extent of your injuries to be known and in some exceptional instances, it can take several years. Should this be the case, a solicitor would work hard to ensure that you are awarded interim payments until a final settlement can be reached.
How the Circumstances That Lead Up to An Accident at Work May Affect the Duration of a Claim
The solicitor who handles your accident at work claim would follow all Pre-Action Protocols which they could do through the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal online. Your employer’s liability insurance provider then has 35 days to go over the evidence and to make an offer which is referred to as a “total consideration period”.
It is worth noting that the time limit of 35 days can be extended and is subject to “various conditions”. Should your accident at work claim be settled through the “Claims Portal”, it should take anything from 4 to 9 months providing you accept the settlement that is offered by the insurance company.
When Would I Receive Compensation if I Accept an Accident at Work Offer?
If your employer’s liability insurance provider admits liability and agree that your accident at work claim against an employer can be processed, you may receive the settlement within a few days. However, it generally takes anything from 2 to 4 weeks for the accident at work compensation to be processed.
Would it Take Longer to Receive Compensation if My Employer Denies Liability?
If your employer denies liability for the injuries you sustained at work, it may be necessary for your personal injury claim to go to court and be heard by a judge. Should this be the case, it can take that much longer to reach a final settlement.
What Would Happen If I Want to Settle My Accident at Work Claim Quickly?
Even when you choose to have an accident at work solicitor represent you when filing for compensation from an employer, you still have the choice to settle when you want to. However, you may find that an experienced solicitor would recommend that you do not accept an “early offer” from an insurance provider because they believe they could negotiate a much higher amount for you. But the final decision would be up to you as to whether you instruct your solicitor to accept a first offer or not.
What Type of Damages and Losses Could I Include in an Accident at Work Claim?
You can include specific damages and losses in an accident at work claim and as with all personal injury claims, these are awarded to cover two elements which are as follows:
- General damages
- Special damages
The amount you may be awarded should your claim be successful would depend on many things which includes the following:
- The extent of your injuries, how long you take to recover and whether you would be able to fully recover so you can work again
- Whether you require ongoing treatment and medical care
These are awarded as a way to compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity having been injured in an accident at work through no fault of your own or because you were partly responsible for the injuries you sustained. It can be harder to calculate how much you may be awarded in general damages because the amount is based on the extent and seriousness of your injuries bearing in mind that every accident at work claim is treated as being unique.
These are awarded as a way to compensate you for all the money you had to pay out due to having been injured in an accident at work. The amount you are awarded is easier to calculate because special damages factor in “actual” expenses and costs incurred which is why receipts must be kept and provided as proof of your expenditure. The following can be included in your claim:
- The expenses you incurred travelling to and from treatments whether they take place in a hospital or other medical facility. You can claim travel expenses you go by taxi, bus, train, car or by other means
- Medical expenses which includes the cost of your prescriptions and other things related to the treatment and medical care you receive
- Care costs should your injuries require that you have help in the home or because you have to go into a care home
- Loss of income for the time you had off work to recover from your injuries
- Loss of future income should you be unable to work again
- The cost of adapting your home should this be necessary
- The extra you had to pay for heating your home and the electricity used because you were at home recovering from the workplace injuries you sustained
As previously mentioned, it is much easier to estimate and calculate the amount of special damages you may be awarded in a successful claim, but you must produce relevant receipts which would be needed as proof of your expenditure.
Is There a Time Limit For Accident at Work Claims to be Filed?
The statutory 3 time limit for filing an accident at work claim must be respected for a case to be valid. With this said, the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer, the better because gathering all the information and necessary evidence to prove a claim, can take a lot of time and effort. The 3 year time limit, however, starts at different times depending on certain things which are explained below:
- The 3 year time limit begins from the date you were injured in the workplace
- The 3 year time limit begins from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a health issue that can be linked to the injury you sustained at work
- The 3 year time limit begins from the date of your 18th birthday if the workplace accident occurred prior to you being 18 years of age
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Claim Against Them?
You cannot be fired for filing a personal injury claim against an employer. Your employer must have another “good and valid” reason for sacking you other than the fact you seek compensation for workplace injuries you sustained. An employer would be acting unlawfully if they treat you badly or attempt to sack you and as such, you should seek legal advice because the chances are that an experienced employment solicitor would recommend you take further legal action out against your employer.
Is It Worth Suing an Employer for a Workplace Injury?
If you sustain a workplace injury, you may be off work during your recovery. This means not being able to bring in a wage which could put you under financial pressure at a time when you need all your strength to get you back on your feet. Your injuries may be such that you are unable to work for a considerable time or maybe you would not be able to work again.
Seeking compensation for workplace injuries can help you through a difficult time and providing your case against an employer is deemed valid, you have the right to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Employers are legally obliged to take out liability insurance to cover such eventualities whether it is an employee or other person who is injured in the workplace through no fault of their own. The insurance must meet the legal requirement of £5 million and the policy must be issued by a recognised insurance provider. Should an employer fail to have the necessary liability insurance in place, they would be liable for hefty fines issued by enforcing authorities.
As such, when you file an accident at work claim against an employer to seek compensation for injuries you sustained, it would be the insurance company who deals with all aspects of your case which includes paying out the personal injury compensation you may be awarded whether through the courts or in an out of court settlement.
What are My Workers Rights If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
You have the right to do the following should you have been involved in a workplace accident and been injured:
- To seek a level of compensation to suit the workplace injuries you sustained
- To file an accident at work claim against your employer without the fear of being sacked from your job for doing so
Worker’s rights are protected and should an employer attempt to stop you from seeking compensation or they threaten you in any way, they would be acting unlawfully. As such, you may be entitled to take further legal action out against them which an employment solicitor may advise you do to before doing anything else.
What Advantages Are There to Working With a No Win No Fee Lawyer?
There are many benefits to working with an accident at work lawyer on a No Win No Fee basis, but the major one is that an experienced solicitor would arrange for you to be examined by an independent medical professional who would produce a report detailing the extent of the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident. With this said, a solicitor would first need to establish that you have a valid case and that your employer could be held responsible for the injuries you sustained. This would be achieved in an initial consultation that is typically free of charge.
Other benefits and advantages of having an accident at work solicitor represent you when you seek compensation from an employer includes the following:
- Lawyers have the right to access legal libraries. These can be referenced when representing you on an accident at work claim
- A solicitor knows that pre-action protocols must be respected
- A solicitor would let you know as soon as possible the amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful accident at work claim against a negligent employer
- The 3 year statutory time limit would be respected reducing the risk of running out of time to claim compensation for injuries you sustained in a workplace accident
- A solicitor would ensure that you receive the right level of compensation and would negotiate interim payments if your case is complex and therefore may take longer to reach a final settlement
One of the advantages to having an accident at work solicitor represent you is that they would ensure that you receive ongoing specialist care should your injuries be severe and therefore require long-term treatment. The main benefit, however, is that an experienced lawyer would make sure that the legal process of filing an accident at work claim against an employer runs smoothly from the outset which in the end would help speed up the process considerably.
If you would like more information on how to file for compensation from an employer, the following link provides essential reading:
If you would like to know more about your employer’s responsibilities towards you in the workplace, please follow the link below: