Warehouses are busy working areas with machinery, vehicles and other equipment always on the move. Large items are delivered, stacked and shipped out of warehouses on a constant basis making the environment a hazardous area to work in. As such, anyone working in a warehouse must be correctly trained and made aware of the risks they could encounter during the course of a working day or night.
There are many Health and Safety Executive regulations that cover employees who work in warehouses to ensure they are made as safe as possible. However, warehouse accidents that result in serious injury are still commonplace throughout the UK which includes severe back injuries.
If you were involved in a warehouse accident that left you with a back injury and the incident occurred in the last 3 years, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer providing you can prove the accident and the injuries you sustained were through no fault of your own but rather through employer negligence. This includes warehouse forklift truck accidents and other incidents involving heavy vehicles.
Work Related Accident Statistics in the UK
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics over 600,000 workers were injured in the workplace from 2016 to 2017 with a high percentage involving manual handling and slip, trips and falls. The statistics also established that a high percentage of injuries sustained in the workplace involved muscle damage and broken/fractured bones.
What are the Most Common Causes of Warehouse Accidents?
The most common causes of warehouse accidents that result in back injuries whether minor or more severe are detailed below:
- Equipment/machinery malfunction
- Falls from ladders or other high areas
- Objects falling from high shelving when items are stacked incorrectly
- Collisions with forklift trucks or other vehicles that are regularly used in warehouses
- Exposure to hazardous substances or corrosive/poisonous chemicals
- Incorrect handling of heavy machinery and equipment
- Slips, trips and falls
- Loud noise exposure that cause hearing issues
What are the Most Common Injuries Sustained In Warehouse Accidents?
There are various injuries which includes back injuries that you can sustain having been involved in a warehouse accident with the most common being detailed below:
- Injuries sustained when lifting or moving heavy objects/items (manual handling injuries)
- Strains, sprains, torn ligaments and pulled muscles
- Lacerations, cuts and bruises
- Neck, shoulder and back injuries sustained when lifting or moving heavier items
- Fractured/broken bones
- Joint and limb injuries
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Vision loss
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries
- Loss of hearing
Because warehouses are considered more dangerous work areas, the injuries you may sustain are often more serious and can even result in death.
Should I File a Warehouse Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You may worry that filing a warehouse injury claim against your employer may put you at risk of losing your job. However, under UK law an employer can not fire you because you decide to file a back injury claim against them. You have every right to seek compensation for a work-related back injury and be awarded the level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain and suffering you had to endure through no fault of your own.
You may find that your back injury prevents you from working in the short-term or you may find that you would not be able to carry out the job you used to do in which case the amount you could be awarded in a successful back injury claim means you would not have the financial worry of not being able to earn a salary again.
It is understandable that you might be concerned about claiming compensation from your employer for a warehouse accident so we would advise consulting with an injury lawyer for the best advice. You can do so through this link https://www.legalexpert.co.uk/accident-at-work-claims/claim-guides/warehouse-accident-claims/ where you can find more advice and a live chat service, as well as a freephone number should you wish to call them directly.
Can Anyone File a Warehouse Injury Claim?
Whether you are a permanent employee, a temporary/agency worker or a contractor and you suffer a warehouse accident that leaves you with back injury, you would be entitled to file a personal injury claim against a negligent employer who failed to keep you safe from harm in the workplace. If you are an agency or temporary worker and the agency who sent you to the job is not responsible for the work you are tasked to do, you could file a back injury claim against the employer if you sustained the injury while working in a warehouse.
If you are self-employed but contracted to carry out work in someone else’s warehouse, you could be entitled to file for compensation against the owner/operator should you have suffered a back injury whilst at work.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities Regarding Warehouse Accidents?
All employers in the UK have a duty of care under the law to keep their employees safe from harm in the workplace. Should your employer fail in their duty to keep you safe and you suffer a warehouse accident that leaves you with a back injury as a direct result of their negligence, you would be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation against them without the worry of being discriminated against or losing your job.
Your employer is obliged under Health and Safety Executive regulations to regularly carry out risk assessments of a working area with an end goal being to identify any hazards you may have to contend with while carrying out your normal daily duties. If an employer fails to do so and you suffer a warehouse injury, they could be held negligent in their duty to keep you safe and as such you could sue them through the courts and be awarded a level of compensation to suit the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own.
What if My Warehouse Injury Was Caused By a Work Colleague?
If a warehouse accident that left you with an injured back was caused by a work colleague, you would still be entitled to file a claim for compensation against your employer because they could be held responsible for your work colleague’s actions or lapse of judgement which is called “vicarious liability”.
Can I Claim Compensation for a Warehouse Accident if I Was Partly Responsible?
You could be entitled to file a work-related back injury claim against your employer even if you were partly responsible for the accident happening. A case such as this would typically be resolved by what is referred to as a “split liability agreement” in which case the level of your liability would be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful back injury claim.
What Are My Employee Rights When Involved in a Warehouse Accident?
As an employee you work rights are extensive and they must ensure the following:
- That you receive a level of compensation that you are entitled to following a warehouse accident that left you with a back injury whether the damage is minor or a lot more severe
- That your job is safe even if you choose to file a back injury claim against your employer who can not fire you for doing so
What Can I Include in a Warehouse Injury Claim?
There are various things that you can include in a warehouse injury claim which includes the following:
- The pain and suffering you endured as a direct result of your injuries
- Medical and treatment expenses you incur as a direct result of your injuries
- Any loss of earnings you incur because you are unable to work
- Loss of amenity and how you daily life has been negatively impacted by your injuries
- Travel expenses incurred for treatments at hospital or other medical facilities
- Care costs should you need daily help around the home
If your injuries are such that you need ongoing medical treatment, you could be entitled to receive interim payments to cover any out of pocket expenses you incur which would help tide you over until you are awarded a final settlement either by a court or by your employer’s insurers should they decide to settle out of court.
What is My Employer’s Duty of Care?
Employers in the UK have a “duty of care” to keep you safe from harm in the workplace. There are Health and Safety Executive regulations in place to keep all employees safe when they are at work. With warehouses being a more hazardous area to work in, there are many more H&E regulations which all employers and employees must respect at all times. The legislation states the following:
- That all employers must ensure that employees and other people are protected from anything that may cause them harm and must carry out regular risk assessments to identify any hazards in the workplace
An employer by law, is responsible when it comes to carrying out thorough risk assessments of a warehouse working area and if they fail to do so, they would be failing in their duty of care towards you and other employees. Once hazards and dangers are identified, employers must by law set in place measures with an end goal being to minimise any risks to employees and visitors. In general, the measures that your employer should set in place would include the following:
- To ensure that proper supervision exists in the warehouse
- To provide employees with the correct protective wear which includes hard hats, safety goggles, work boots, gloves and other necessary safety equipment and work wear
- To provide employees with the necessary training on how to use specialist machinery and equipment
- To ensure that all objects and items in a warehouse are correctly stacked
- To ensure that obstacles are not in the way which could cause employees to slip, trip and fall
- To erect highly visible hazards warnings where and when necessary
How to File A Warehouse Injury Compensation Claim
If you suffered a warehouse accident that left you with a back injury and the incident occurred through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer if it can be proved they were negligent in their duty of care to keep you safe whilst you are at work. Your employer’s insurers would handle your claim which means that it is not your employer who would have to pay any compensation you could be awarded in a successful personal injury claim. In many instances, your employer’s insurers would settle your claim before it gets to court which is known as an “out of court settlement”.
It is best to seek legal advice as early as possible if you are going to file a back injury claim against an employer. A solicitor who specialises in work-related personal injury claims would do their best to ensure you are awarded a level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain and suffering you endured as a direct result of a warehouse accident.
Working with a Solicitor on a No Win No Fee Basis
A solicitor who specialises in warehouse injury claims would know exactly what is needed to prove and strengthen your claim against a negligent employer. Once your case has been professionally assessed which a solicitor would do during a free initial consultation, if they find you have a strong claim against your employer, they would typically offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis. You would enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with a solicitor which is a legal contract that sets out the “terms and conditions” of the contract as well as the percentage you agree to pay for the legal representation you receive.
However, you would only have to pay the agreed percentage to the solicitor if your back injury claim is successful and the amount would be deducted directly from the amount you are awarded whether it is by a court or by your employer’s insurers, should they decide to settle out of court. The amount you pay is often referred to as a “success fee” because if your claim is unsuccessful, there would be nothing to pay for the legal representation you received.
Working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis takes all the worry of finding the funds to pay for legal representation off the table and it means you would never be out of pocket during the whole legal process of filing a personal injury claim against a negligent employer following a warehouse accident that left you with a back injury.