According to statistics hand injuries account for around 10% of visits to Accident and Emergency departments throughout the UK with the most common being contusions, fractures, lacerations and other types of hand injury cuts.
If you have been involved in a work accident that left you with a damaged hand and the incident happened within the last 3 years, you could be entitled to file a hand injury claim against your employer, providing the accident happened through no fault of your own.
What are the Different Types of Hand Injury Can I Claim For?
You can injure your hand in many ways while carrying out normal working activities. The complexity and severity of the injury would depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident and where the accident occurred. With this said, the most common workplace hand injury causes are detailed below:
- Fractures, breaks and crushed bones – there are many different bones that make up your hand and should any of them be negatively impacted, it could prevent you from using your hand which in turn means you may not be able to use tools, operate machinery or carry out normal everyday tasks until the bones are healed
- Sprains, muscle tears, strains, ligament and tendon damage – there are many muscles, tendons and ligaments in your hand all of which can be injured making it impossible for you to grasp and release objects which in turn can prevent you from carrying out your normal job as well as everyday tasks
- Nerve damage – there are many nerve endings in your hand, many are at the end of your fingertips. Hand injury nerve damage can negatively impact your sense of feeling making it virtually impossible to work and carry out normal everyday tasks
If you sustain any sort of hand injury while at work and you can prove the accident occurred through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to file a hand injury claim for compensation from your employer.
What To Do If You Suffer a Work-related Hand Injury?
If you were involved in a workplace accident and suffered a hand injury whether minor or more severe that resulted in you not being able use your hand, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation. You can file a personal injury claim against your employer whether your hand injury is temporary or permanent. With this said, making sure you follow the necessary accident reporting procedure will help strengthen your claim. The steps you should take following a work-related accident that left you with an injured hand are detailed below:
- Make sure your employer or person in charge is aware of the incident
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Make sure the incident is noted in the Accident Report Book – if you cannot do this because your injuries prevent you from doing so, make sure someone else does this on your behalf
- If there is no Accident Report Book, make sure you write down the date and time of the accident, where it occurred and the hand injury you sustained as a direct result
- If necessary, make sure your employer or the person in charge reports the incident to the Health and Safety Executive – bearing in mind that not all accidents have to be reported to H&E
- Make sure you get the contact details of all witnesses to the incident
- Take photographs of where the accident occurred and your injuries
What is My Employer’s Responsibility Towards Me?
Employers in the UK have a duty of care under the law to ensure that all employees are kept safe from harm in the workplace. Should your employer fail in their duty to keep you safe and you suffer a hand injury as a direct result of their negligence, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation against them.
The Health and Safety Executive legislation sets out an employer’s responsibility towards employees as follows:
- To ensure that all “workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm” and to “control all risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace”
As such, your employer’s responsibility towards you as an employee is as follows:
- To keep you safe in the workplace which must be kept clean and tidy
- To provide you with suitable protective wear, tools and other items needed to carry out your daily work safely
- To ensure you have received the correct training to carry out your daily tasks
- To ensure that work colleagues are fully trained to carry out their daily tasks alongside you
Is My Employer Responsible for My Work-related Hand Injury?
Proving an employer was negligent in their duty of care to keep you safe while you are work is an essential part of filing a successful hand injury claim. With this said, even if you were partly or fully responsible for the accident, you may still be able to file for compensation against your employer. When an employer fails in their duty to keep you safe from harm in the workplace, they could be held negligent and therefore liable for your injuries by a court.
The accident could have been caused by a work colleague and if this is the case, you could still file a hand injury claim against your employer and not against the person who caused your injury which is explained below.
A work colleague caused my hand injuries at work
Should a work colleague cause an accident that leaves you with a hand injury, your employer would still be held liable which is referred to as “vicarious liability”. It could be that your work colleague had a lapse of judgement or made a mistake which resulted in you suffering a hand injury at work in which case you would be entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer
I was partly at fault for the accident, can I still claim?
Even if you were partly responsible for an work accident that left you with an injured hand, you could still be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation. In many cases, a solicitor would resolve a claim by setting up what is referred to as a “split liability agreement”. With this said, the amount a court may award you in a successful claim would depend on your level of responsibility for the incident occurring. An example being that if it is found that you were 25% responsible, you would be awarded 25% less in a successful hand injury claim.
Working with a solicitor who specialises in work-related hand injury claims would help you through the process of establishing who is liable for the accident and the injuries you sustained.
What are My Rights Following an Accident at Work Which Left me with an Injured Hand?
All employees have “rights” if they are involved in an accident at work that leaves them injured. Your employee rights are set in place to ensure the following:
- That you receive the level of compensation you rightly deserve for your injuries
- That your job is safe and that an employer can not sack you if you choose to file a personal injury claim against them
Under UK law, you are protected with Health and Safety Executive legislation covering many different areas and working environments with an end goal being to keep employees safe, reduce the risk of injury and to ensure that all workers whether full-time, part-time, contract, temporary or agency workers are treated fairly should they decide to file for compensation following an accident in the workplace that left them with an injured hand.
Can I File for Compensation for a Hand Injury if I Am an Agency or Temporary Worker?
If you are an agency or temporary worker and you sustain a hand injury in the workplace and the accident occurred through no fault of you own, you would be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the employer and not the agency who sent you for the job. However, if your job is considered the agency’s responsibility because it was up to them to provide correct training and equipment, the agency could be held liable for your hand injury.
For the best advice you would need to speak to a legal expert which you can do at this link https://www.legalexpert.co.uk/peronsal-injury-compensation/hand-injury-accident-claims/ where you can get free, no obligation legal advice 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you explain what has happened they would be able to advise on how likely it is you would get compensation, and they may be able to estimate how much it could be.
Can I File for Compensation for a Work-related Hand Injury if I am Self-employed?
If you are self-employed and you are working for someone else examples being whether you are an electrician or plumber working on a building site, and you suffer an accident that leaves you with an injured hand, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the employer/operator of the site providing you can prove they were negligent in their duty of care to keep you safe from harm while carrying out your job on the building site.
Should I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Hand Injury Against my Employer?
Many employees worry about filing a claim for compensation against an employer because they feel they could be discriminated against or even fired for doing so. However, you have every right to make a personal injury claim against an employer without having to worry about what other people think or the fear of losing your job.
Under UK law, an employer can not fire you for seeking compensation for a hand injury and should you have suffered severe damage to your hand, you may not be able to carry out your job again in which case the compensation you receive in a successful hand injury claim would ensure you are able to live comfortably even if you are unable to work again.
What Can I Include in a Work-related Hand Injury Claim?
There are certain things that can be included in a work-related hand injury claim which are detailed below:
- You can claim for the pain and suffering you had to endure as a direct result of the accident
- Medical and treatment expenses can be included in your personal injury claim
- You can include any loss of earnings you incurred
- You can claim “loss of amenity” which includes how your hand injury negatively impacted your daily life
- Travel expenses incurred which includes costs of travelling to hospital or other medical facilities to receive necessary treatments
- You can include care costs should you need daily help to carry out normal everyday tasks around the home
If your hand injury is such that you would need ongoing treatment, you may be entitled to what is referred to as an “interim payment” which a solicitor would negotiate for you on your behalf so that you do not have to cope with any financial worries until your claim is settled.
Accident at Work Statistics in the UK
According to Health and Safety Executive statistics, over 600,000 people were involved in work-related accidents that left resulted in injury during the period from 2016 to 2017. The breakdown of the injuries and workplace accidents are detailed below:
- Manual handling injuries accounted for 22% of workplace accidents
- Slips and trips accounted for 29% of accidents in the workplace
- Injuries involving equipment and machinery accounted for 10% of workplace accidents
- Falls from heights accounted for 7% of workplace accidents
H&E statistics reveal that many injuries negatively impact a person’s muscles and bones with many injuries occurring in differing working environments which includes among construction workers, nurses, care workers and various other trades with some workers being more at risk that others.
If you sustained a work-related hand injury through no fault of your own, you should do the following:
- Make sure you file a personal injury claim within 3 years of the accident occurring
- Prove that your employer was negligent
You may still be able to file for compensation even if you were partly or fully responsible for the work accident that left you with a damaged hand. To find out if this is so, it is best to speak to a solicitor who specialises in work-related hand injury claims.
Is There a Time Limit to Work-related Hand Injury Claims?
As with all personal injury claims, there is a 3 year time limit that must be adhered to when making a hand injury claim against your employer. Any claims after the time limit has expired would be referred to as being “statute barred” as such you would not be able to claim compensation for the injury you sustained. As such, it is best to seek legal advice as early as possible following a work-related accident that left you with a damaged hand to ensure you do not fall foul of the 3 year time limit.
With this said, many symptoms of work-related illnesses that workers may develop do not manifest themselves immediately and this includes noise related disorders or if you have been exposed to any hazardous materials such as asbestos. In these instances, the 3 year time limit for filing a work-related personal injury claim starts from the time you became aware of your illness.
Working with a Solicitor on a No Win No Fee Basis for a Hand Injury Claim
Many solicitors offer a free initial consultation which allows them the opportunity of assessing whether you have a strong claim against a negligent employer. Once your case has been assessed, a solicitor would offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis, taking all the worries of funding legal representation off the table.
You would sign a legally binding contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor which is also referred to as a CFA. This agreement sets out the “terms and conditions” of the contract as well as the “success fee” you would have to pay for the legal representation you receive when filing a work-related hand injury claim.
Should your claim be unsuccessful, there would be nothing to pay your solicitor at all because the majority of No Win No Fee lawyers take out ATE insurance when they agree to work on your hand injury claim. The agreed percentage you would pay is deducted directly from the amount you are awarded, whether it is through the courts or if your claim is settled before it goes before a judge. In short, you would never be out of pocket when working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis.