You can suffer many types of back injuries in the workplace, but one of the most serious is a slipped disc. Often referred to as either a prolapsed or herniated disc, this type of injury is extremely painful and debilitating. If the damage is serious, it may be necessary to undergo spinal surgery. With this said, a slipped disc can prevent you from working whether for a short period of time or the long-term. If you sustained a slipped disc at work you could be entitled to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and out of pocket expenses you incurred. To find out more on how to file a slipped disc claim against an employer, please read on.
The Definition of a Slipped Disc
When you suffer this type of back injury, it is the lumbar region of your spine that is negatively impacted. When a spinal disc ruptures, it places tremendous pressure on your spinal nerves causing excruciating pain. Other symptoms associated with a slipped disc includes the following:
- Loss of sensation due to spinal nerves being negatively impacted
- Intense pain in your lower back
- Limited mobility
- Sharp shooting pains that run down your legs which is referred to as sciatic pain
If you experience any symptoms detailed above following a workplace accident that results in you injuring your back, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What Are the Common Causes of a Slipped Disc in a Work Environment?
You can suffer a slipped disc in a variety of ways in the workplace. However, the most common causes are as follows:
- Lifting heavier items
- Serious trauma following a fall from height
- A lack of training in manual handling
Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are correctly trained should your job entail manual handling and they must also provide the correct equipment and tools to reduce the risk of your injuring yourself. If you are not provided with adequate training, you are at much greater risk of suffering a back injury which includes a slipped disc. As such, your employer could be held liable for your injuries and you could be entitled to seek compensation from them.
What Procedure Should I Follow if I Suffer a Slipped Disc at Work?
If you suffer a slipped disc while you are at work carrying out your normal daily job, you should seek medical care as a matter of urgency not only to alleviate the pain you experience but also to have your injuries diagnosed as soon as possible. You may not be able to file an official report detailing the extent of your injuries, in which case you should ensure that a work colleague you can trust, does this on your behalf. The procedure that must be followed if you suffer any sort of injury in the workplace is as follows:
- That an official record of the workplace accident and the extent of the injuries you sustained are noted in the work’s accident report book. If there is no book, you should make sure that a detailed report is sent to your employer either through the mail in a registered letter or via a personal email
- Photos of where the accident occurred
- If there is CCTV footage of the accident, you should request this from your employer who provide the footage in a timely manner when asked
- Photos of the injuries you sustained to your spine
- An official and detailed report of the extent of the spinal injury you sustained which should be provided by the doctor who first examined and treated you whether this was your own GP or a doctor in the Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital
- Witness statements together with all their contact details
- The RIDDOR report should the workplace accident be “reportable” to the Health and Safety Executive
It goes without saying that the more evidence that you can provide, the stronger your slipped disc claim would be against your employer. Should your employer deny liability, a solicitor would investigate the claim that they cannot be held responsible and would then assess whether you should begin legal proceedings against your employer. Should this be the case, you would have to attend court where you slipped disc claim against an employer would be heard by a judge.
Would My Slipped Disc at Work Claim be Valid?
If you are involved in any sort of accident in the workplace and you suffer slipped disc while carrying out your work, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation from your employer. However, for your claim to be valid, you would have to prove that you sustained a slipped disc at work, the incident occurred in the last three years and that you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained.
With this said, you could be partly responsible for the accident at work that left you injured and still be able to claim compensation. However, the amount you receive would reflect your level of liability which is referred to in law as “contributory negligence”.
What Level of Compensation Could I Receive for a Slipped Disc?
The level of compensation you could receive would vary on the extent of the workplace injuries you sustained. In short, if you suffered a very serious, life-changing slipped disc injury, you would be awarded more than a more minor injury to a disc. The amounts provided below are given as a guideline to the amount of compensation you may receive in a successful slipped disc claim:
- Prolapsed intervertebral disc where surgery is required or where nerves have been negatively impacted which results in restricted mobility as well as loss of independence, you may be awarded between £19,000 and £28,000
- Slipped disc that requires a laminectomy or where the condition remains ongoing, you may be awarded between £8,000 -£20,000
- Severe slipped disc where spinal discs suffer fractures or lesions, you could receive up to £50,000
It is worth noting that the amounts given above are a guideline because all slipped disc claims are treated as unique and as such you may be awarded more or less in the way of compensation for the injury you sustained. It is also worth noting that on top of these amounts, you would also be entitled to receive “special damages” which are awarded to compensate you for all your out of pocket expenses.
What Can Be Included in a Slipped Disc at Work Claim?
Personal injury compensation is calculated in two parts as follows:
- General damages are awarded to compensate you for the injuries you sustained in the workplace. The amount you could be awarded in a slipped disc claim would reflect the extent of your injuries and how they impact your future life and your ability to work again
- Special damages are awarded to compensate you for all the money you had to pay out due to having been injured in the workplace which includes all your medical and travel expenses as well as any other expenditures you incurred as a result of your injuries. You must be able to provide evidence of your out of pocket expenses in the form of receipts
As previously mentioned, the amount of general damages you could be awarded, would depend on the extent the injuries you sustained at work. Having an independent medical report would help establish just how much slipped disc compensation you may be entitled to receive whether your case goes to court or your employer’s insurers choose to offer you an out of court settlement.
Is It a Good Idea to File a Slipped Disc Claim Against My Employer?
You have the right to seek compensation if you suffered a slipped disc while carrying out the job you do. However, as previously mentioned, you would have to provide proof that the accident occurred while you were at work and that your injuries were either caused by a work colleague or through employer negligence. Should you believe that you could be held partly responsible for your injuries, you should contact a lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims because your employer may be partly responsible which is known as “contributory negligence”.
Your employer, like all employers in the United Kingdom, has to carry liability insurance that provides the legally required amount of cover. This is set at £5 million and the provider must be a recognised insurance company. Should an employer fail to have the necessary liability insurance in place or they fail to display the policy, they could receive hefty fines from an enforcing authority.
When you file a slipped disc claim against your employer, it is their insurers who would handle all aspects of your case which includes negotiating and paying out a final settlement when this is reached. It is noteworthy that most personal injury claims are settled between the insurance provider and the solicitor who handles the case rather than having to go before a judge in court. However, should an employer dispute your claim, you may find that a solicitor advises filing a lawsuit against your employer in which case, your slipped disc claim would be heard by a judge and you may have to attend court.
Do I Have Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
Should you be involved in a workplace accident that leaves you with a slipped or herniated disc injury, your worker’s rights allow you to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. However, you would need to show that the incident occurred in the last 3 years and that it was caused either through employer negligence or because of an error on the part of a work colleague.
If you believe that you could be partly responsible for the slipped disc injury you sustained at work, your employer could also be held partly liable. As such, you should discuss your case with an accident at work lawyer who would establish the level or contributory negligence on the part of both the claimant (yourself) and the defendant (your employer).
Your rights following a workplace accident in which you are injured include the following:
- To file a personal injury claim to seek compensation
- That your job is not at risk because you file an accident at work claim against your employer
If an employer treats you detrimentally or unfairly because you seek compensation, you should contact a lawyer who would advise you on whether you should file further claims against your employer. The same applies if an employer threatens you with redundancy or the sack.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Health and Safety Executive regulations and other laws protect you when you are in the workplace and your employer must adhere to them. Should an employer fail in their duty to keep you safe while you are at work, they could be held liable should you suffer a slipped disc in a workplace accident due to their negligence. All employers must do the following with an end goal being to reduce the chances of a workplace accident happening:
- Adequate and ongoing training is provided to all employees and other members of staff
- Equipment, tools and machinery in the workplace is kept in good working order and regularly serviced as per the manufacturer’s recommendations
- Risk assessments are regularly carried out with an end goal being to identify hazards and to set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of accidents occurring
- Working practices and procedures are made available to all employees and other members of staff
- Personal protective equipment is correctly stored and provided to employees when needed to carry out a job they are tasked to do
Ignoring Health and Safety Executive regulations and other laws which results in you suffering a slipped disc at work, could mean that your employer failed in their legal duty to keep you safe from injury while you are in their employment.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Slipped Disc Claim Against an Employer?
A solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims has vast experience when it comes to what can often be a complex legal process. They know how to avoid the legal pitfalls associated with personal injury claims that are work-related and always respect the statutory 3 year time limit and pre-action protocols. Other advantages that a solicitor would provide when filing a slipped disc claim against an employer also include the following:
- A solicitor would arrange an examination by a consultant or specialist. The detailed medical report they provide would be essential when it comes to calculating the amount of slipped disc compensation you could be awarded
- Lawyers can access legal libraries on which they can base aspects of your slipped disc claim against an employer
- You would be offered a no obligation, initial consultation for which there is no charge. This allows the solicitor you contact to assess the strength of your claim and whether your employer could be held liable for the slipped disc injury you sustained in the workplace
- A firm of solicitors would agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis once they establish that you have a strong case against a negligent employer. In short, there would be nothing upfront or any ongoing fees as your claim progresses either
- If your employer denies liability, the solicitor would work hard when it comes to investigating the claim and would issue legal proceedings against your employer if they continue to deny responsibility for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- A solicitor would communicate with your employer’s liability insurance provider and would negotiate an acceptable level of compensation for you
- The solicitor would also ensure that you are awarded interim payments if necessary, until a final settlement is reached. This is especially the case when a slipped disc claim is complicate due to the extent of the injuries you sustained in an accident at work
- A solicitor would also ensure that you receive ongoing treatment should your injuries be so severe that you require long-term medical care
Having an accident at work lawyer represent you on a slipped disc claim against a negligent employer, would allow you to place all your focus on your recovery.
Is There a Time Limit Associated With a Slipped Disc Claim Against an Employer?
The 3 year statutory time limit that applies to all personal injury claims must be respected for a slipped disc claim to be valid. However, should you have been injured in an accident at work before you turned 18 years of age, the statutory 3 years begins on your 18th birthday. Should you develop a medical condition that a specialist can link directly to the slipped disc injury you sustained in a workplace accident, the 3 year time limit starts from the date of the diagnosis.
Can My Employer Fire Me If I Claim Compensation for a Slipped Disc?
Your worker’s rights protect you from being hired should you have been in an accident at work that left you suffering from a slipped disc. You have the right to:
- Seek compensation from your employer for the injuries you sustained while in their employment
- File a personal injury claim without the fear of being sacked for doing so
An employer would be acting illegally should they attempt to prevent you from filing an accident at work claim and this includes threatening you with redundancy.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
As previously mentioned, once a firm of lawyers establishes your accident at work claim against your employer is valid, they would typically represent you after signing a Conditional Fee Agreement which is also known as a No Win No Fee agreement. Once the contract is signed, the lawyer would then start investigating your claim and would communicate directly with your employer and/or their liability insurance provider and they would do so without requesting a retainer/upfront fee.
No Win No Fee agreements are legally binding contracts that lay out the Terms and Conditions as well as the “success fee” that would only be payable on a successful slipped disc claim against an employer. The agreed percentage would be deducted from the amount of slipped disc compensation you are awarded. Should your case not be successful, you would not have to pay for the legal services the No Win No Fee lawyer provided.
To find out more about slipped disc injuries and treatment options, please click on the link below:
If you would like more information on how long it takes to recover from a slipped or herniated disc, please follow the link below: