Employers have a duty of care towards you when you work for them. This is a legal obligation to keep you safe from injury and harm in the workplace. There are many laws and Health and Safety regulations that an employer and employees must adhere to in order to minimise the risk of an accident occurring in the workplace which includes sustaining a faulty equipment injury.
Your employer must also maintain all machinery and equipment that you use at work, whether you are a machine operator, forklift driver, chef or your role at work involves using any sort of tools or other equipment. Should you be injured at work due to faulty equipment, you may have the right to seek compensation from your employer who could be deemed negligent in their duty to keep you safe while in their employment.
The Law Regarding Safety in the Workplace
As previously mentioned, there are several laws and Health and Safety Executive regulations that are set in place to ensure that all employees and other people are kept as safe as possible from harm and injury in the workplace. The laws that protect you while you are at work are listed below:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) – covers equipment and plant machinery
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) – covers lifting equipment
- Pressure Equipment Regulations
- Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992
Companies and businesses that employ more than 5 employees, must have a health and safety policy in place and must also carry out regular risk assessments of a working environment with an end goal being to identify hazards and dangers which may put employees as well as visitors at risk of being injured.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Faulty Equipment Accidents at Work?
You can sustain an injury when you work when using or operating faulty equipment in a multitude of ways. However, the most reported accidents at work involving faulty tools, machinery and equipment includes the following:
- Being crushed – by unstable/faulty equipment or where guard rails are missing/broken
- Electric shock – from faulty wiring
- Electrical burn – from faulty wiring
- Scalds – due to the lack of adequate personal protective equipment
- Falls from height – whether from a faulty/unsuitable ladder, working platform or scaffolding
- Injuries sustained on broken parts of equipment which includes sharp edges
- Injuries sustained because of broken or badly maintained tools
- Injuries sustained because of inadequate training
These are just some of the ways in which you can suffer a faulty equipment injury but there many others. Should you feel that your employer or a work colleague could be held liable for the injuries you sustained, you should discuss your case with an accident at work solicitor.
Your Employer’s Legal Duty in the Workplace
Under UK law, employers must ensure that all the equipment in a workplace is correctly maintained and in good working order to reduce the risk of injury to employees. Your employer must also make sure that you have been correctly trained to use the equipment. However, if the equipment is defective, no matter how well trained you may be, the risk of being injured is greatly enhanced.
Your employer would have to prove that you operated or used workplace equipment incorrectly or for a purpose other than it was intended if they want to argue liability for the workplace injuries you sustained when using faulty equipment. If this is the case, your employer would argue that you were negligent and not them.
However, if you have enough evidence to prove that you were operating the equipment in the manner by which you were trained, but that it was faulty or defective and you were injured as a consequence, you may have a case against your employer and could seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against them.
Would My Faulty Equipment Injury Claim Be Successful?
All accident at work claims are treated as unique but the one common thread is the more evidence you can provide to strengthen your case against a negligent employer, the better the chance you would have of winning a faulty equipment injury claim. You would have to prove the following:
- That the faulty equipment you were operating or using that left you injured was due to employer negligence because they failed to maintain it in good working order
- That the injury you sustained could have been avoided had the equipment been in good working order and correctly maintained to a manufacturer’s recommendations
- That you sustained your injury while carrying out your work
This type of accident at work claim is often a complex legal process which is best handled by an expert solicitor with vast experience in representing employees who have been injured in the workplace when operating or using faulty equipment. Contacting an accident at work lawyer sooner rather than later, would avoid falling into the many legal pitfalls associated with personal injury claims which includes the statutory 3 year time limit.
How Do I Start a Faulty Equipment Injury Claim Against My Employer?
As previously mentioned, it is far better to seek legal advice following a workplace accident caused by faulty equipment sooner rather than later. The reason being that there is a strict statutory time limit that you must adhere to when seeking compensation for a faulty equipment injury sustained in the workplace. The first thing to do is seek medical attention and to get a detailed report on the injuries you sustained, making sure that the doctor who treats you records even the minor symptoms you may be experiencing. Minor symptoms may not seem important at first, but further down the line you could find that things get a lot worse and may even require ongoing treatment or therapy.
It can take a lot of time and effort to gather all the information pertaining to the workplace accident in which you were injured. Gathering all the evidence required to prove a faulty equipment injury claim against an employer can also be a lengthy process. A solicitor has vast experience in handling this type of claim and would provide essential advice on what type of proof is required which would include the following:
- A record of the workplace accident as reported at the time of the incident whether this was in the accident report book or by some other official method sent to your employer whether in a recorded letter or sent from your personal email account
- A record of the initial medical report that details the extent of your injuries
- Contact details of all the people who witnessed your accident
- Witness statements
- Photos of where the workplace accident occurred and if possible, CCTV footage of the incident – your employer is legally required to provide CCTV footage 40 days following a request for them to do so
- Photos of your injuries before you received any treatment
You would need to keep all the receipts of any expenses you incurred as a direct result of having sustained a faulty equipment injury while you were at work. The receipts would be required as proof of the money you had to spend out and would be used to calculate the amount of compensation you would be awarded in a successful workplace accident claim.
What Can I Include in a Defective Equipment Injury Claim Against an Employer?
The way compensation is calculated for personal injury claims is as follows:
- General damages – the amount of compensation you may be awarded in general damages should your faulty equipment injury claim be upheld, is calculated on the extent of the injuries you sustained. The more severe your injuries happen to be, the more in the way of general damages you would receive bearing in mind that all personal injury claims are treated as unique which in short means that the amount you receive could be more or less that the compensation another person with similar injuries may be awarded
- Special damages – the amount of compensation you could be awarded would be based on the “actual” out of pocket expenses and other costs you incurred as a direct result of being injured in the workplace. Special damages cover your travel and medical expenses which is why it is important to keep all receipts as these would be required as proof of the costs you incurred
The amount you may receive in a successful faulty equipment injury claim would depend on the severity and the extent of the injuries you sustained in the workplace. Another factor that is taken into consideration is whether your injuries would prevent you from working in the future.
Should I File a Faulty Equipment Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You have the “right” to seek compensation for any workplace injury you sustained providing your case meets specific criteria. Firstly, that the incident occurred and the injuries you sustained were through no fault of your own. Secondly, that the workplace accident happened in the last 3 years which is the statutory time limit associated with personal injury claims.
Employers in the United Kingdom are legally obliged to hold valid liability insurance and the policy must meet the legal requirement of £5 million. It must also be issued by a recognised insurance provider. Failure to have the necessary liability cover in place, could mean that your employer receives hefty fines which are levied by the enforcing authority. As such, when you file an accident at work claim against your employer because you believe they were negligent in their duty to keep you safe while in their employment, it is the insurance provider who deals with your case and who would settle the amount of compensation you could be entitled to receive in a successful defective equipment injury claim against your employer.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Defective Equipment Accident at Work?
Your worker’s rights are protected which includes following an defective equipment accident at work. This means you have the right to do the following:
- Seek compensation from your employer providing you can prove they were negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm and injury while you were working for them
- To know that your job is safe even if you file an accident at work claim against your employer
An employer cannot prevent you from doing either of the above and if they do attempt to put you off by threatening you with the redundancy or the sack, you could have the right to sue them and as such, the best course of action to take in these circumstances is to contact a solicitor.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
You employer is duty bound to make sure that your working environment is safe and they must set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of you being injured when carrying out your job. An employer must abide by all the Health and Safety Executive regulations and other laws relating to how equipment must be maintained. You must also be provided with adequate training to use all the equipment, tools and machinery that your job entails. This includes ongoing training too.
Should your employer fail to follow Health and Safety guidelines or they ignore any laws and regulations which results in you being injured while operating or using faulty equipment, they could be held liable and you could have the right to seek compensation by filing a faulty equipment claim.
Your employer must ensure that you receive the following:
- Correct training with ongoing training being provided at regular intervals
- That equipment you use is correctly maintained so that it is in good working order
- That you are provided with adequate personal protective equipment which must be correctly stored and maintained
- To ensure that you are aware of all working practices and procedures
- That regular risk assessments of your working environment are carried out with an end goal being to identify any dangers and hazards
- To set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees and other people who visit a workplace
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Defective Equipment Injury Claim?
Having an expert accident at work lawyer represent you offers many benefits and advantages both at the outset of filing a claim against a negligent employer and throughout your case as it progresses. Some of these advantages are listed below:
- A firm of lawyers would initially assess your case against your employer to establish if your defective equipment injury claim would be upheld whether it goes to court or a settlement is reached “out of court” with your employer’s liability insurance provider. It is worth noting that a very high percentage of personal injury claims are never heard by a judge with insurance companies preferring to negotiate a settlement without the need to go to court. However, should an employer choose to argue your claim, a solicitor would then file a suit through the courts
- Once a solicitor has established you have a strong claim against a negligent employer which they would do in an initial consultation which is free of charge, they would offer to represent you after signing a No Win No Fee agreement with you. This means the firm of lawyers can begin work on your claim without you having to pay them an upfront fee to do so. There would be no ongoing payments to find either as your case progresses
- A lawyer with vast experience in handling accident at work claims on behalf of employees who have suffered injuries in the workplace, would respect all the pre-action protocols and be aware of the statutory time limit associated with personal injury claims, thus avoiding any of the legal pitfalls
- A solicitor would communicate with your employer and their liability insurance providers and would always be aware of the time limits associated with correspondence between a claimant and a defendant
- Lawyers can access legal libraries which means they can research precedents when representing you
- A solicitor would ensure that you receive interim payments should your case be very complex and reaching a final settlement may take longer, thus alleviating any financial pressures you may be experiencing
- A lawyer would arrange for you to be examined by an independent consultant or specialist who would produce a detailed medical report on the extent of the injuries you sustained. The report would be crucial as it would be used as a basis for the amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful defective equipment injury claim against a negligent employer
- The solicitor would negotiate a fair and acceptable amount of defective equipment injury compensation for you whether through the court or in direct negotiation with your employer’s insurance provider
- A lawyer would arrange for you to receive rehab should your injuries be such that you require ongoing treatment and therapy
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Faulty Equipment Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You would have 3 years to file a faulty equipment injury claim against your employer. However, the statutory time limit can begin at different times which are listed below:
- The time limit of 3 years begins from the date you were injured in the workplace through no fault of your own
- The time limit of 3 years starts from the date of an official medical diagnosis of a health issue you developed as a direct result of the workplace injury you sustained
- The time limit of 3 years begins from the day you turn 18 years of age, should the workplace accident that left you injured have occurred prior to you being 18 years old
Could I Lose My Job For Filing a Faulty Equipment Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You cannot lose your job because you seek compensation for a faulty equipment injury sustained in the workplace. Your employer must have another reason for firing you and it has to be valid. Should you find that you are being treated unfairly or detrimentally because you file a personal injury claim against your employer, you should seek legal advice before resigning or doing anything else. The same applies if your employer threatens you with redundancy because you tell them of your intentions.
Your employer would be acting illegally if they do any of the above and as such, you could be entitled to take further legal action out against them on top of your faulty equipment injury claim.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Faulty Equipment Injury Claim?
As previously mentioned, once a firm of solicitors is satisfied that your faulty equipment injury claim against an employer is valid and that there is a very strong chance that your case would be upheld, whether by a judge or your employer’s liability insurance providers, they would offer to represent you without the need of requesting an upfront fee/retainer. You would sign a No Win No Fee agreement otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a legal document that sets out the percentage that would only be payable when you are awarded faulty equipment injury compensation in a successful claim.
Should you lose your case, you would not have to pay the percentage which is known as a “success fee” because you signed the CFA with the firm of solicitors you chose to represent you when you made a faulty equipment injury claim against your employer on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you would like to know more about Health and Safety at Work regulations, the following link takes you to the government website where you will find more information on an employer’s responsibilities in the workplace:
To find out more about pressure equipment regulations, please click on the link below:
If you would like more information about the personal protective equipment at work regulations 1992, please follow the link below: