Employers are required under Health and Safety Executive regulations to keep records of all accidents, injuries, illnesses, diseases and other dangerous incidents that occur in the workplace. This regulation applies to all employers throughout the UK with one of the end goals being to identify dangers and hazards in the workplace which in turn makes an environment safer for employees to work in. Having a record of your accident at work and the injuries you sustained or the disease/illness you developed, is crucial when it comes to proving an accident at work claim.
With this said, if there is no record of your injury at work although your claim might be weaker than if there was an official report in an Accident Report Book, you still may be able to file a successful accident at work claim, providing there is other crucial evidence and proof of the incident that left you unable to work whether for a short or longer period of time.
What Is My Employer’s Legal Responsibility for Keeping an Accident Report Book?
As previously mentioned, employers and anyone else who controls business premises, must by law keep records of accidents and other incidents that result in injury, illness or disease in the workplace. Your employer is not legally required to keep an accident report book, but because doing so meets all the requirements laid out by the Data Protection Act, most employers use this method as a way of keeping records of incidents that leave employees injured or suffering from an illness/disease in the workplace.
Employers must also report all accidents that result in employee having to be off work for more than 7 consecutive days to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). This is a legal requirement that applies to all employers throughout the UK.
Will a Record in the Accident Report Book Strengthen My Claim?
Having a record of an accident at work that has been recorded in the Accident Report Book, does strengthen a personal injury claim against a negligent employer. The reasons being as follows:
- It confirms an accident at work occurred
- It confirms an injury/illness/disease
- It establishes liability and negligence
The reason for all of the above is because the record clearly states the following:
- When and where the accident at work occurred
- Details of all the people who were involved in the accident
- An brief account of how and why the incident occurred
- An account of injuries/illness/disease sustained
- An account of treatments offered
An accident at work must be recorded in the Accident Report Book at the time the incident occurred or as soon after as possible afterwards. An injured employee should be shown the report to confirm that was is recorded is correct if their injuries allow them to do so. Records of all incidents and accidents at work must by law be retained for 3 years which means that even if you do not immediately file an accident at work claim against a negligent employer, the record of the incident are available for this amount of time.
Are Accident Book Records Essential for Accident at Work Claims?
Because accidents at work claims can be hotly disputed, having a record of an accident that left you suffering from an illness, disease or injury, helps establish what happened and who could be held liable. With this said, if you believe no record exists of your accident at work, it is possible to confirm that a record was made by contacting the relevant third party. Should you discover that no record exists, you can make an official request to have the incident recorded which in itself, could be used as evidence when filing an accident at work claim.
What Other Proof and Evidence Can I Provide to Strengthen an Accident at Work Claim?
A court could rule that not having a record of an incident that left you injured at work, is negligent on the part of your employer in itself, unless the reason was valid. An example being that the injuries sustained were so severe, a record was not added to the Accident Report Book until much later. However, if there is no record of an accident at work that left you injured, a specialist solicitor would be able to use other proof and evidence to build your case against a negligent employer. The evidence that could be used would include the following:
- Official medical report of your injuries
- CCTV footage (if available)
- Photos of your injuries
- Photos of where the accident occurred
- Witness statements
The more evidence of your accident at work and injuries you can provide, the better your chances of winning a your case, whether it goes before a judge or the insurers agree to settle out of court.
Does My Employer Have a Duty of Care Towards Me?
Employers have a duty of care to keep all their employees safe in the workplace which they are legally required to do. Should you suffer an injury, develop an illness or disease through employer negligence, you would have every right to file an accident at work claim against them. Employers must abide by Health and Safety Executive regulations and the law when it comes to keeping records of all accidents and incidents that occur in the workplace. They must report accidents that result in you have more than 7 days of work to RIDDOR which again, is a legal requirement.
If you believe your employer was negligent in any way when it comes to keeping you safe in the workplace but there is no record of the accident, you should seek legal advice because providing you can provide other proof that you were injured in the workplace, you could still be able to file for compensation.
Are There Certain Things I Can Include in My Accident at Work Claim?
When filing an accident at work claim, you can include the following:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages covers the following:
- The pain and suffering you endured as a direct result of being injured, suffered an illness or disease in the workplace
- Any physical impairment you sustained
- The mental and physical anguish you had to cope with following the incident
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of your career
- Hardship finding alternative work
Special damages covers the following:
In a successful accident at work claim, the special damages you may be awarded could include the following:
- Medical expenses which covers both in the short-term or if you need long-term ongoing treatment for the injuries, illness or disease you developed in the workplace. This also covers all your out of pocket expenses namely the cost of specialist consultations, prescriptions, medication, care/hospital stay and all the diagnostic tests needed during your recovery
- Travel expenses which covers how you get to a hospital or other medical facility for necessary treatments whether you travel by taxi, car, bus or train
- Loss of income during the period you are unable to work which includes all perks and bonuses you may have missed out on
- Loss of future earnings if your injuries prevent you from working again
Not having a record of your injuries and the accident at work that caused them, does not mean you would not be able to claim compensation from a negligent employer. A personal injury solicitor would be able to assess the strength of your claim by using other evidence and proof that your injuries were due to an accident at work.
Do I Have Any Rights Following an Accident at Work?
Following an accident at work, you have certain rights which are detailed below:
- That your job is safe even if you decide to file an accident at work claim against a negligent employer
- That you receive an amount of compensation that suits the injury, illness or disease you developed in the workplace
Can an Employer Sack Me For Filing an Accident at Work Claim?
Your employer cannot by law, fire you because you decided to file a personal injury claim against them. By doing so, they could open the door to you being able to file a second claim namely for unfair dismissal. However, if your employer has a valid reason for firing you other than the fact you are seeking compensation from them, then they may be able to successfully show you the door without the worry of having to deal with a second claim against them.
Would My Accident at Work Claim Be Successful?
Providing you have other strong evidence to prove that you were involved in an accident at work that left you injured and unable to work whether for a short or much longer period of time, even if there is not record of the incident in an Accident Report Book, you still have a very good chance of winning your claim and being awarded a level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain, suffering and out of pocket expenses you incurred through no fault of your own but rather through employer negligence.
Is it Worth Filing an Accident at Work Claim Against My Employer?
Even if there is no record of an accident at work that left you injured or suffering from a health issue, it is always worth discussing your case with a specialist personal injury solicitor. The reason being that you may have enough proof and evidence needed to file a successful claim bearing in mind that many work-related personal injury claims are settled by an employer’s insurers “out of court” and before the case is heard by a judge.
Would a Solicitor Take on My Accident at Work Claim on a No Win No Fee Basis?
A solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims would typically offer an initial, no obligation consultation which is free of charge. This allows them to assess your case and to establish whether there is enough proof and evidence that the accident that left you injured or suffering from some kind of health issue occurred in the workplace and that it was due to employer negligence. Once this has been established, a solicitor would offer to work on your case on a No Win No Fee basis which means they can start working on your accident at work claim by gathering all the necessary evidence without having to request an upfront fee or retained.
You would sign a contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a legal agreement between you and the firm of solicitors. Not having to find the money to pay for legal representation means you can concentrate on recovering without any financial worries of how you would pay your solicitor. The CFA you sign sets out the amount you would have to pay but only on a successful accident at work claim which is referred to as a “success fee”. This is an agreed percentage of the amount you are awarded either by a judge or by your employer’s insurers should they decide to offer you a final settlement before your case gets to court.
If you do not win your accident at work claim, you would have nothing to pay for the legal representation you received because in signing a Conditional Fee Agreement, the solicitor you worked with would have agreed to take on all the “risks” involved in filing a work-related injury claim. It is also worth noting that the “success fee” you do pay on a successful accident at work claim, would be deducted directly from the amount of compensation you receive.