Your employer must by ensure that you and all your working colleagues whether full-time or part-time, are kept safe when they in a working environment. The same applies to contractors and agency workers who work for an employer and who are under their control. The law also requires that your employer makes you fully aware of all hazards, risks and dangers that may be present in a work environment which they can achieve by carrying out regular risk assessments.
Should your employer fail in their duty to keep you “safe” while you are in their employment, they could be deemed negligent and you could claim accident at work compensation should you have suffered any sort of injury whether minor or more severe.
Proving Your Employer May Be Held Responsible for Your Accident at Work Injuries
Your employer could be held responsible through negligence for an accident at work that left you with injuries for a number of reasons and this includes the following:
- You were not given adequate training as per the Health and Safety training regulations. Without the right kind of H&S training, your employer is putting you more at risk of being injured while carrying out jobs you are tasked to do while you are in their employment
- The machinery, equipment and tools you regularly use during the course of a working day was not correctly or adequately maintained as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Any equipment, machinery or tools which are not maintained in good working order put you in harm’s way and raises the risk of you being injured in the workplace as such your employer would be deemed negligent in their duty to keep you safe at work
- The machinery, equipment or tools you use was faulty which resulted in an accident at work that left you with an injury. Your employer would be held responsible for the injuries you sustained
- You were not trained to use specialist equipment which caused you to be injured. Again, this may be used as evidence of employer negligence
- The working environment was unsafe because you were asked to work on slippery or uneven flooring or because there were other hazards in the area you work. This could be seen as your employer failing in their duty to keep you safe and as such, they would be deemed negligent which resulted in a workplace accident that caused you to be injured
- You were not provided with adequate or the correct personal safety equipment and as a result you suffered an injury. This would be seen as employer negligence in the workplace
- You developed a work-related disease or health issue because your employer failed to put in place all reasonable measures to keep you safe from harm while working for them
- You were hit by a moving vehicle in the workplace because inadequate safety measures were set in place by your employer to prevent this type of workplace accident occurring. Your employer could be held negligent in their duty to keep all employees safe whilst in their employment
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
All employees in the UK have “rights” which are highly protected. Should you have been injured in the workplace through employer negligence, you have the “right” to file a negligence claim against your employer and to be awarded compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity you had to endure through no fault of your own.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
There are various laws and as well as Health and Safety regulations that protect employees in the workplace and employers must abide by them. Should your employer have ignored the law or they chose to take short cuts to speed a job up which resulted in you suffering any sort of injury, you have the right to seek compensation by filing a negligence claim against your employer.
Employers in the UK must by law do the following to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees:
- That all employees and other workers are trained to do a job to a satisfactory standard and that ongoing training is provided on a regular basis
- That equipment, machinery as well as any tools that are used in the workplace is correctly maintained and in good working order
- To carry out risk assessments on a regular basis to identify any dangers, risks and hazards in the workplace before setting in place “reasonable” measures so that injury and harm to employees and other people is reduced
- To make sure that all employees and other people are provided with the correct and adequate personal protective equipment
- To make sure that all employees and other people are given detailed working practices and procedures
If you were injured at work because your employer failed in any of the above, they could be held responsible and would have to award you accident at work compensation because of their employer negligence towards you and your work colleagues.
What Do I Need to File a Negligence Claim Against My Employer?
You would need to gather as much evidence as you can if you want to file a negligence claim against your employer. This includes proof that your employer failed in their duty to set in place measures to ensure that your working environment was safe. You would also need to provide the solicitor with a detailed report of the circumstances that led to you being involved in an accident at work which left you injured or which caused you to develop a work-related medical condition.
The steps you should take following any sort of workplace incident that leaves you injured or harmed in any way, are as follows:
- To seek medical care as soon as possible and this includes whether you are injured slightly, have suffered more serious injuries or you have developed a medical condition as a result of the work you do
- To check that the workplace accident was officially reported. This could be in an Accident Report Book or by any other official means whether in writing or a personal email to your employer or person in charge of the workplace. You should keep a copy of the report for your own records and always check that the information relating to your accident at work has been correctly recorded in an Accident Report Book. Should you find that some details are incorrect, you have the right to correct this before adding a signature to the official report
- Get statements from witnesses together with a record of their contact details
- Get photos of the injuries you sustained which are best taken before any treatment is provided
- Get photos of where the workplace accident that left you injured occurred
- If there is CCTV footage of the incident, ask for a copy which you are entitled to have and employers must respect your request in an acceptable amount of time
- Get a detailed medical report of the injuries/work-related illness making sure that the report provides all the symptoms you are experiencing even the minor ones. The reason being that later on, a minor symptom may turn into a more serious health problem later on in time
- Keep all receipts of costs and expenses that you had to cope with because of your workplace injuries. This includes your travel costs to and from the place you receive treatment/therapy and the cost of prescriptions and any other medical costs you had to pay as well as any care costs you incurred because of your injuries
The rule of thumb when filing a negligence claim against an employer, is to have as much evidence as possible. This would help strengthen your case against your employer and would provide strong proof of employer negligence towards you.
How Do I Start My Negligence Claim Against My Employer?
Work-related personal injury claims tend to be complex more especially if your employer denies liability for any injuries you sustained while carrying out work for them. Should an employer not acceptable responsibility for the accident at work that left you injured, you may have to take your case to court. As such, it is best to seek legal advice from an accident at work lawyer who has vast experience in dealing with claims where employers deny liability.
The reason being that there are many legal pitfalls that must be avoided and a “pre-action” protocol that must be respected or your case may not get passed the first post even if you have all the required evidence to prove employer negligence. Insurance providers are often slow to respond to the correspondence they are sent and an experienced lawyer would urge them to reply to an initial letter confirming your intentions of filing a negligence claim in a timely fashion.
The solicitor you contact would assess your claim before deciding whether you have a strong case against your employer for negligence in the workplace. Once satisfied, the solicitor would typically offer to represent you without having to request an upfront fee or retainer by working on your negligence claim against an employer on a No Win No Fee basis. This takes all the financial pressure of paying for legal representation off your shoulders and ensures that the legal pitfalls are avoided from the outset.
You would need to give the solicitor all the information and evidence relating to your claim so they can start their investigations. Once you sign the CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement), the solicitor would then contact your employer to inform them of your intentions. The solicitor would handle all aspects of communication on your behalf with both your employer and their insurance providers.
If your employer does not accept that they were negligent in their duty towards you, your solicitor may recommend filing a lawsuit against your employer. As such, you may need to attend a court hearing but if your employer accepts liability, the insurance company that issued the liability policy would typically offer to settle your negligence claim against your employer “out of court”, bearing in mind that the majority of personal injury claims that are not disputed as settled in this way.
What You Can Include in Your Negligence Claim Against Your Employer
You are entitled to claim both damages and losses in your negligence claim against your employer. The damages are covered by “general damages” which compensate you for the injuries you sustained through employer negligence. Your “losses” are the expenses and costs you paid out because of your injuries which come under the legal heading of “special damages”.
The amount you would be awarded in general damages would be based on the extent of your injuries and how your ability to work and your overall health and well-being has been negatively impacted. The Judicial College Guidelines set out the amount you may be awarded but as each claim is different, the amount you receive may be higher or lower than the guidelines proposed by the Judicial College.
Where special damages are concerned, it is essential that you retain all receipts relating to the costs and expenses you had to pay out which includes for the following:
- Travel expenses to and from treatment and therapies you had to undergo
- Medical expenses which includes the cost of treatments, therapies, prescriptions and all other medical related costs you incurred
- Care costs if your injuries were such that you needed help around the home during your recovery or the cost of ongoing care should this be necessary
- Home adaptations should these be required to make moving around you house easier if your injuries affected your mobility
- All other costs you incurred because of employer negligence that led to you being injured in the workplace
Should I Sue My Employer If They Were Negligent in the Workplace?
If your employer failed in their duty to keep you safe from harm and injury while you were in their employment and carrying out jobs you were tasked to do whether onsite or offsite, an example being on a “building site”, your worker’s rights entitle you to seek compensation for the pain, suffering as well as the loss of amenity you were forced to cope with through no fault of your own.
In short, you have every right to file a negligence claim against your employer and to receive the correct level of accident at work compensation to suit the injuries you sustained. As previously touched upon, your employer has a legal obligation to hold liability insurance. It is your employer’s insurer who would deal with your negligence claim against your employer and it is the insurance provider who would pay out the accident at work compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim whether the case goes before a judge or you are offered an out of court settlement by the insurance company.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Negligence Claim Against My Employer?
If you are considering taking legal action out against your employer because you believe they failed in their duty to keep you safe in the workplace, there is a statutory time limit that must be adhered to. This time limit must be respected if your claim is to be upheld and begins as follows:
- 3 years from the date you were injured in the workplace
- 3 years from the date a medical professional diagnosed you as suffering from a medical condition that you developed due to being injured in the workplace
- 3 years from when you turn 18 years old should you have suffered your injuries earlier than this
Could I Lose My Job If I File a Negligence Claim Against My Employer?
You have worker’s rights which are highly protected and these include your “right” to seek compensation for injuries or harm sustained in the workplace through employer negligence. You also have the right to do the following without the fear of losing your job if you do:
- File a work-related personal injury claim against a negligent employer
- Be awarded a level of accident at work compensation to suit the injuries you sustained
Should your employer try to stop you from doing any of the above or if they tell you that you would be sacked or made redundant if you do, your employer would be behaving unlawfully and as such, you would have the “right” to seek further compensation for their actions.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Claim?
There are many advantages to having a lawyer represent you when you file a negligence claim against your employer. Some of these are listed below:
- You would be offered an initial, free consultation by the solicitor you contact which allows them to assess whether you have a strong case against a negligent employer. You would be under no obligation to proceed with your claim should you not wish to
- The solicitor would agree to work on your negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis once they are satisfied that your claim is valid
- Solicitors have a lot of experience in handling successful work-related personal injury claims against negligent employers and they fully understand the legal pitfalls that can lead to a case being rejected
- Solicitors understand that “pre-action” protocols must be respected
- Solicitors can use legal libraries when needed and are able to use previous cases which they can base your negligence claim against your employer on
- The solicitor would advise you on the amount of accident at work compensation you may be awarded as soon as it is feasibly possible to do
- An experienced accident at work lawyer would ensure that you receive interim payments should your case take longer to reach a final settlement
- The solicitor would work hard to ensure that you are awarded a level of compensation to suit the damages and losses you incurred through the negligence of your employer
- A solicitor would make sure that you receive ongoing treatment should your injuries be so severe that you require long-term care
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Negligence Claim Against My Employer?
Providing you have the required evidence to prove that your employer was negligent in their duty and as such you were injured or developed a work-related health issue as a direct result, a solicitor would be happy to work on your claim you without you having to pay an upfront fee for them to do so. It would involve signing a Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor which is a legally binding contract that is often referred to as a No Win No Fee contract.
The contract sets out the agreed percentage that you would only have to pay the solicitor when you are awarded the compensation you seek and the amount is deducted from the compensation you are awarded. Should you lose your negligence claim against your employer, there would be no “success fee” to pay for the legal services the solicitor provided.
If you were injured in the workplace and would like more information on an employer’s legal responsibilities towards you, the following link takes you to the Health and Safety Executive website where you will find valuable reading on the topic:
To find out more about the laws that protect you and your work colleagues, please click on the link below which takes you to the British Safety Council website where you will find essential reading on the topic:
To find out more information reporting workplace accidents to the Health and Safety Executive, please follow the link below which takes you to the Gov.uk website that provides detailed information on the topic: