You can suffer an accident at work for many reasons and you can be injured in a multitude of ways. With this said, one of the most commonly reported injuries that employees sustain in the workplace is muscle damage to their backs. You could be a shop assistant and suffer a back injury while moving stock or stacking shelves, you could be a factory worker and damage your back when moving materials that you consistently handle, care workers often hurt their backs when handling the patients they are looking after. However you suffer a back injury and no matter what industry you work in, you could be entitled to file for compensation providing the incident that left you with a back injury happened in the last 3 years and can prove it was through no fault of your own.
Your Employer’s Responsibilities for Manual Handling Training and Guidance
All employers in the UK have a duty to not only keep you safe in the workplace, but also to ensure that your receive adequate training when it comes to lifting and carrying any items while you are at work. Responsible employers will always make sure that their employees are familiar with the following procedures:
- What to do in the event of a fire alarm going off
- What must be done following an accident at work
- How to record an incident and injury in the accident report book
- Who to go to when first aid is required
Along with all of the above, a responsible employer would also ensure that all the people who work for them are correctly trained on how to lift items and that they are given manual handling guidance which could be as easy as watching the following:
- A video showing how items should be lifted safely to reduce the risk of sustaining injuries to the back
Should your employer have failed to provide adequate manual handling training and you suffered a back injury when lifting items or moving stock whether your injuries are mild or more severe, you could be entitled to claim compensation and be awarded a level of compensation to suit the pain and suffering you had to endure through no fault of your own. It is also important to note that not only should an employer provide new employees adequate manual handling training, they should also provide ongoing refresher training to all existing workers which is typically every three years.
What is an Inadequate Working Environment and What Are Unsafe Lifting Practices?
Employers must provide adequate manual handling training to all their staff, but they must also ensure that a working environment is safe enough for employees to carry out their daily jobs. Many employees suffer back injuries due to lifting at work even though they have been given sufficient manual handling training. The reason being they are required to work in a small space which makes it harder for them to lift and move items as safely as they should and as they have been trained to do. Another reason why many employees suffer back injuries due to lifting is because they have not been given the correct tools to carry out a job even though an employer provided adequate manual handling training.
The health and safety guidelines for lifting heavier items are as follows:
- Employees should not try to lift any items that weigh over 25 kg without the help of a work colleague or a hoist
- Employees must be provided with trolleys to move items to prevent excess stress being placed on their lower backs
Would My Back Injury Due to Lifting Be Upheld By a Court?
For a back injury claim due to lifting to be successful, you would need to provide enough evidence that the incident could have been avoided had your employer provided adequate manual handling training, that the working environment was safe and that you were given the correct tools to carry out a job. On top of this, other necessary criteria that must be met includes the following:
- That the incident occurred in the last 3 years
- That your back injury and the accident were correctly recorded in an accident report book or through another official channel
- That you can provide an official medical report detailing the extent of your back injury
What Level of Compensation Could I Receive for a Back Injury Due to Lifting?
When it comes to the amount of back injury compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim, this would depend on the severity of the damage you sustained and the complexity of your case. As such, every claim is treated as unique. However, compensation awarded in work-related injury claims are broken down into two categories which are detailed below:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages are awarded for the injury you sustain and how your life has been negatively impacted. In short, a back injury due to lifting may mean you are unable to work for a period of time or it could mean you would not be able to work again. As such, the general damages you are awarded in a successful claim would incorporate the time you are off work, if you are unable to work again and whether or not your injuries prevent you from carrying out normal everyday tasks and other activities you used to enjoy before you were injured at work.
Special damages are awarded for all the financial expenses you incurred as a direct result of having suffered a back injury due to lifting at work. This would include travel and medical expenses as well as all other out-of-pocket expenses you incurred which is why it is very important to hold on to all receipts. These would be needed as proof of the expenses you had to pay out as a direct result of the injuries sustained while at work.
With this said, as a rough guide, back injury due to lifting compensation that you may be awarded in successful claim are detailed below:
- For a back injury from which you recover within a few months – you could be awarded up to £1,860
- For a back injury due to lifting where recovery can take several years – you may receive anything from £1,860 to £6,000
- For a back injury where recovery took from 2 to 5 years – you could be awarded anything from £6,000 to £9,500
- For a back injury that left you with permanent damage – you could be awarded anything from £9,500 to £21,100
- For a back injury where severe permanent damaged is caused – you could receive anything from £21,100 to £29,475
- For a back injury that leaves you with chronic ongoing permanent symptoms – you could be awarded anything from £29,475 to £53,000
- For a back injury that results in severe permanent damage and which negatively impacts your life – you could receive anything from £53,000 to £67,000
Please note, the above figures are given as a rough guide to the amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful back injury from lifting claim.
Should I Sue My Employer for a Back Injury From Lifting?
If you suffered a back injury from lifting at work, it could leave you out of action and unable to work for days, weeks or even months. The injuries you sustain could prevent you from working again which could put you under a lot of financial pressure. As long as you can prove that you sustained your back injury through no fault of your own and the incident occurred in the last 3 years, filing a claim for compensation could mean that you are awarded a level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain, suffering and out-of-pocket expenses you incurred.
All employers in the UK are legally required to have valid liability insurance in place which covers accidents at work as well as health issues and medical conditions that employees might develop. As such, it is your employer’s insurers who would respond to your back injury from lifting claim and would pay out the compensation you are awarded bearing in mind that around 95% of accident at work claims are settled by an employer’s insurers out of court and before they are heard by a judge.
What are My Workers Rights Following a Back Injury From Lifting at Work?
If you suffer a back injury from lifting at work, you have specific rights which are listed below:
- That your job is not put in jeopardy should you decide to file for compensation against an employer
- That you can seek compensation for the physical and emotional pain you had to endure following an accident at work that left you with an injured back
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Back Injury From Lifting Claim?
Any sort of back injury can put you out of action whether it is for a few days, weeks or months. Should your injury be extremely severe, you may not be able to carry out your normal job again and this could put you and your family under tremendous financial pressure. Not only would you have to cope with the pain and suffering you have to endure, but also with expenses that you would not have had to deal with had you not sustained a back injury from lifting at work.
Claiming compensation from a negligent employer is something that you could be entitled to, providing you can meet certain criteria which includes that your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe and that you sustained your back injury in the last 3 years. It is worth remembering that your employer is legally required to have liability insurance in place which covers any work-related injury claims that may be filed against them. Your employer’s insurers would deal with your back injury from lifting claim and they would pay out the settlement on successful claim.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Back Injury From Lifting Claim?
You cannot be sacked from your job simply because you decide to file a back injury from lifting claim against your employer. The only time an employer can fire you under these circumstances is when there is another valid reason for doing so other than the fact you are seeking compensation for an accident at work injury you sustained. Should your employer fire you for filing a claim, you could also seek compensation for unfair dismissal.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Back Injury From Lifting Claim?
The best course of action to take following an accident at work that left you with a back injury from lifting, is to seek legal advice sooner rather than later. An accident at work solicitor would determine whether your employer could be held liable for your injuries and would communicate directly with your employer’s insurers on your behalf once they have established your claim is valid.
A solicitor would work on your back injury from lifting claim on a No Win No Fee basis once they are satisfied that you claim would be upheld by a court and they would work hard to ensure you are awarded the amount of money you rightly deserve for the pain and suffering you endured through no fault of your own.
Conditional Fee Agreements were set in place to help people who suffered injuries in the workplace and elsewhere, the opportunity of being represented in court by specialist solicitors without having the worry of paying for the legal services they receive which are expensive. Signing a CFA means a solicitor can contact your employer and their insurers on your behalf informing them of your intentions and they can do this without having to request any upfront payments from you.
A CFA is a legal contract that details the Terms and Conditions of the agreement. It also details the percentage known as a success fee that you would only have to pay the solicitor on a successful back injury from lifting claim. The amount you pay for the legal services a solicitor provided is taken directly from the compensation you receive. Should your back injury due to lifting be unsuccessful, you would not have to pay the “success fee”.