One of the more common accident at work claims filed against employers involve neck injuries which often lead to workers suffering from musculoskeletal health issues. A neck injury can negatively impact your back, lower and upper limbs. If you were in a work-related accident and suffered any sort of injury to your neck, you could have the right to seek compensation from your employer. To find out what criteria must be met when it comes to filing a neck injury at work claim, please read on.
What is the Definition of a Neck Injury?
Any sort of neck injury can be excruciatingly painful because so many parts of your body can be negatively impacted. This includes the following:
- The spine
- Upper and lower limbs
Studies have also established that injuries to the neck can lead to depression and anxiety issues, both of which can be extremely debilitating. When it comes to establishing the severity of a neck injury that you may have sustained at work, a medical professional would examine you to determine the following:
- Whether you have suffered a minor neck injury which could result in pain, discomfort and numbness. This type of minor injury is often the result of soft tissue, ligament, tendon or muscle damage to your neck
- Whether the damage to your neck is moderate which could include having sustained prolapsed discs, experiencing ongoing pain in your neck and where permanent damage has occurred
- Whether you sustained a severe neck injury which results in damage having been done to your spine. This can lead to partial or full paralysis (paraplegia and quadriplegia)
If you were in a workplace accident that left you suffering from any sort of neck injury, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even minor damage can quickly turn into something more serious a little later in time. Following a medical examination, you should then seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims.
What Level of Neck Injury Compensation Could I Receive?
The level of compensation you may be awarded in a successful neck injury at work claim against your employer, would depend on the extent of your injuries and the complexity of your case. This includes whether the damage you sustained was life-changing. The Judicial College guidelines for this type of injury are as follows:
- Severe injury to the neck which results in “incomplete paraplegia” or “permanent spastic quadriparesis” where the injured party has no or little neck movement and suffers from constant serious headaches, the amount that may be awarded is between £118,240 and £130,060
- Serious fractures to the neck or cervical spine disc damage which results in disabilities, the amount that may be awarded is between £57,620 and £114,810
- Fractures, dislocations or serious damage to the soft tissues (ruptured tendons) that result in permanent of significant disabilities, the compensation that may be awarded would be between £39,870 and £49,090
- Moderate fractures or dislocations which results in severe symptoms that may cause spinal fusion, the amount that may be awarded is between £21,910 to £33,750
- Soft tissue damage and lesion of discs which results in cervical spondylosis, the amount that could be awarded would be between £12,050 to £21,910
- Minor soft tissue damage to the neck, the amount that may be awarded could be between £6,920 to £12,050
- Injuries to the neck where the injured party makes a recovery in around 1 to 2 years, the amount that could be awarded would be between £3,810 to £6,920
- Injuries to the neck where the injured party makes a full recovery within 3 months to 1 year, the amount that could be awarded would be between £2,150 to £3,810
- Injuries to the neck where the person injured makes a full recovery within 3 months, the amount that could be awarded would be up to £2,150
When calculating neck injury compensation, the above figures are what is known as “general damages” which covers the pain and suffering you had to endure as well as the mental anguish the injury caused you. General damages also take into account whether your neck injury is life-changing.
On top of general damages, the compensation you may be awarded would factor in “special damages” which are a lot easier to calculate because they are based on the expenditure you had to deal with as a result of having suffered a neck injury at work. These include the following:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Travel expenditure – which covers getting to hospital or other medical facilities for treatments
- Medical expenditure – which includes ongoing treatments
- Care costs
- Necessary adaptations to your home or vehicle
You should keep all receipts relating to your neck injury because these would be required to calculate the special damages you would be awarded in a successful neck injury claim.
How to Begin a Neck Injury at Work Claim Against Your Employer
If you strongly believe that the accident at work that left you with a neck injury, whether minor or catastrophic, you have the right to seek compensation from your employer. You must be able to prove that you sustained your injuries in the workplace in the last 3 years which is the statutory time limit to personal injury claims. You must be able to provide evidence that your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm while in their employment.
Even if the accident was caused by a work colleague, your employer could still be held liable for the injuries you sustained. The reason being that employers are responsible for the actions of all of their employees. With this said, the more proof you have, the stronger your neck injury claim would be. Seeking legal advice is essential because your employer must be informed of your intentions and this is best done by a solicitor who has vast experience in handling accident at work claims and would know how to negotiate your case should your employer dispute your claim.
Should I Sue My Employer for a Neck Injury Sustained at Work?
No matter how minor you may think your neck injury happens to be, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible because even slight damage to your neck, may lead to you suffering from a more serious musculoskeletal disorder. A minor injury to your neck could also mean you are unable to work for a number of days, weeks or you may have to be off work for a lot longer. In short, not being able to work because you sustained a neck injury could mean you are unable to pay monthly bills and other living expenses. This in turn, can put you and your family under tremendous financial pressure.
Employers in the UK are legally required to have liability insurance which must provide a minimum of £5 million cover and the policy has to be underwritten by recognised insurance providers. An employer should also display the policy in the workplace where it can clearly be seen by all employees and other people. With this said, the compensation you may be awarded in a successful neck injury at work claim, would be settled by your employer’s insurance providers, with the majority of personal injury claims (95%) are negotiated by the insurer before the case goes before a judge.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
Worker’s rights are extremely protected and this includes your rights if you are injured while you are at work. Your worker’s rights following a work-related accident that results in a neck injury whether minor or a lot more severe are detailed below:
- You can seek compensation for the injury you sustained
- Your position and job is kept safe if you file an accident at work claim
Should your employer attempt to stop you from seeking compensation or you are threatened with redundancy or the sack if you go ahead and file a claim, you should contact a lawyer who would provide essential advice on how best to proceed and whether you could take out further legal action against your employer.
What Are My Employer’s Duties Towards Me in the Workplace?
Workers are highly protected by a number of laws and regulations which all employers must adhere to. The various legislation are there to ensure that you, as an employee, are kept safe from harm and injury while you are at work. If an employer fails to adhere to the laws and regulations and you suffer a neck injury in an accident at work, you would be entitled to file a claim against them because they would be in breach of their duty towards you. Workplace regulations that an employer must abide by include the following:
- That all employees are provided with adequate and ongoing training to carry out the jobs they are tasked to do in the workplace
- To ensure that all employees are provided with the right personal protective equipment which must be correctly maintained and property stored
- To ensure that all employees are given detailed working practices
- To make sure that all tools, machinery and equipment is correctly maintained and regularly serviced to ensure they are in good working order
- To carry out frequent risk assessments in a workplace with an end goal being to identify risks and hazards that employees may have to face
- To set in place measures to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees and visitors to the workplace
If your employer does not abide by the regulations and laws that are set in place to keep you safe while you are in their employment and you sustain a neck injury, they could be held in breach of their responsibility to keep you safe from harm.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Neck Injury at Work Claim?
There are many advantages to having a solicitor represent you when filing a neck injury at work claim against an employer. Work-related personal injury claims can be complex legal procedures and it can take time to gather all the evidence needed to prove a case and to establish who could be held liable for the injuries you sustained. The benefits of working with a lawyer on an accident at work claim includes the following:
- Solicitors have vast experience in handling complex legal processes and they have access to legal libraries which they can use to base your claim on
- Solicitors have experience in dealing with insurance providers and can speed up what is often a long-drawn process caused by long delays when it comes to replying to correspondence an insurer receives relating to your claim
- A lawyer would listen to your claim during a no obligation, initial consultation for which you would not be charged. This allows the solicitor to assess the strength of your claim
- Once satisfied you have a strong claim against an employer, the lawyer would offer to work on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. In short, you would not have to pay a retainer or any ongoing fees for the lawyer to represent you when making a neck injury at work claim
- A solicitor would arrange for you to be examined by a consultant/specialist and the report produced would be used when determining how much compensation you may receive
- An accident at work lawyer would arrange for you to receive all the aftercare you may need which include physiotherapy
- You would only have to pay the “success fee” that you agreed to pay when signing the Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor, if your claim is successful. If you lose your case, there would be nothing to pay for the legal advice and representation you received
Working with a No Win No Fee solicitor allows you to place your focus on your neck injury recovery rather than having to worry about paying for legal representation.
What is the Time Limit to Filing a Neck Injury at Work Claim?
There is a strict 3 year statutory time limit associated with all personal injury claims and this includes those that are work-related. The time limit does, however, start at different times depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident at work claim, these are detailed as follows:
- 3 years from the date you were involved in an accident at work that left you with a neck injury whether minor or a lot more severe
- 3 years from the time you were diagnosed with a medical condition that can be “directly” linked to the neck injury you sustained while you were at work
- 3 years from the time you turn 18 years of age should the work-related accident that left you with a neck injury have happened before your 18th birthday
If you sustain a neck injury at work which leaves you unable to work whether for a short time or for much longer, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer sooner rather than later to avoid falling foul of the statutory 3 year time limit.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Neck Injury Claim Against Them?
No employer can fire you because you decide to file an accident at work claim against them. If they do or you are threatened with redundancy when seeking compensation for a neck injury sustained in the workplace, your employer would be breaking the law. As such, you should seek legal advice before you do anything else which includes resigning from your job. The reason being that you could be entitled to take further legal action out against your employer.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
As previously mentioned, once a lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims has determined that you have a strong case against an employer who could be held liable for the neck injury you sustained in the workplace, they would be prepared to enter into a No Win No Fee agreement with you. Signing a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) with a lawyer means that you would not pay to find the funds to pay a retainer and you would not have to pay any ongoing fees as your case progresses either.
The agreed percentage that you would only have to pay when your neck injury at work claim is upheld, is referred to as a “success fee”. The percentage is taken out of the amount you receive rather than you having to find the funds to pay it which is one of the advantages of having a solicitor work on your neck injury at work claim on a No Win No Fee basis.