If you sustained an injury above your waist, it would be categorised as an “upper body injury”, examples being your head, arms, neck, shoulder, back, chest or abdomen. Should you have been involved in an accident at work, providing your case meets certain criteria, you could be entitled to file a claim for upper body injury compensation from your employer.
To find out if your upper body injury at work claim would be valid and whether your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained, please read on.
What Are the Main Workplace Upper Body Injuries?
Your body is made up of many bones, joints, muscles and vital organs which you can injure should you be involved in a workplace accident. The main workplace upper body injuries that are most reported include the following:
- Head, eye and brain – you can slip, trip and fall in the workplace causing you to bang your head. You may from a height or come into contact with a moving vehicle which can also result in you suffering some kind of trauma to your head. Although you may only suffer a mild concussion if you are involved in this type of accident at work, you could also sustain a very serious fracture to your skull with the result being that you suffer an injury to your brain. This type of injury can lead to serious ongoing medical problems for you and the long-term effects on a family and loved ones can be devastating
- Neck injuries – you can suffer a neck injury should you slip on a wet surface which results in you falling backwards. One of the more common upper body injuries sustained in the workplace, neck injuries can be minor to extremely severe especially if you suffer a fall from height. Injuries to the neck can be life-changing needing long-term treatment and care
- Upper limb injuries – you can sustain an upper limb injury by tripping and slipping in the workplace. Just by putting your hand out to break your fall can result in a sprained wrist, a broken wrist or even a dislocated shoulder. You may be hit by a moving vehicle in the workplace which could result in an upper limb injury
- Hand and arm injuries – you can also sustain a hand and arm injury at work carrying out normal daily tasks. If you cannot use a hand or your arm is in a sling, your ability to work would be negatively impacted as well as your ability to drive a vehicle. Some arm and hand injuries can be debilitating and would need long-term rehabilitation.
- Back injuries – injuries to your back can involve a minor sprain to a more serious major spinal injury. You can damage your back through falling from a height, being crushed by a moving vehicle, machinery or equipment. You may not be able to work because of an injury to your back with very severe damage causing you total loss of mobility
- Chest and abdomen injuries – one of the more common causes of chest and abdomen injuries in the workplace is being crushed beneath something heavy that falls from height
- Injuries to ribs – you can suffer a broken rib which could negatively impact your ability to breath. If you are crushed by an item that falls from height or by a moving vehicle, it could damage internal organs which includes your liver, kidneys, stomach and spleen. You may have to undergo emergency surgery if your injuries are more severe and you may have to cope with a lengthy recovery which means you would not be able to work for a period of time
If you suffered any sort of upper body injury in the workplace, you could be off work for a period of time to recover. It could mean that you would be unable to bring home your normal wage which could put you and your loved ones under financial pressure. Seeking compensation from your employer could help and would allow you to focus on your recovery so you can get back to work as soon as possible. By discussing your case with an accident at work lawyer, you could start your claim and be awarded a level of compensation to suit your injuries and all the out of pocket expenses you endured even though the accident was not your fault.
Would My Upper Body Injury Claim be Valid?
For a work-related upper body injury claim to be valid, you would need to provide sufficient evidence that the accident could have been avoided and that your employer or a work colleague could be responsible for the injuries you sustained. The workplace accident would also have to occurred in the last 3 years which is the statutory time limit associated with all personal injury claims against negligent third parties.
Because work-related and other personal injury claims can be complex legal processes, it is worth discussing the circumstances leading up to the accident with a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims. The solicitor would put you on the right road to filing a successful case against an employer once they have established your claim is valid which they would do by offering you an initial, free consultation.
What is the Time Limit to Filing an Upper Body Injury Claim Against My Employer?
There is a strict 3 year statutory time limit that must be adhered to should you wish to file an upper body injury claim against your employer. However, when the time limit begins depends on several things which are detailed below:
- Three years from the date that you sustained an upper body injury in the workplace
- Three years from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from any sort of medical condition that a doctor or specialist has linked to the upper body injury you sustained at work
- Three years from when you turn 18 years of age should the workplace accident that left you with an upper body injury have occurred before you were 18 years old
If you suffered an upper body injury while you were at work carrying out your daily tasks and the incident happened because of the negligence of a third party whether it was your employer or a work colleague, you could be entitled to sue for compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you had to endure. Although 3 years seems like long enough to file a personal injury claim, gathering all the relevant information to prove your case and to strengthen your claim, takes a lot of time and effort. With this in mind, it is far better to seek legal advice sooner rather than later to avoid running out of time.
Is It Right For Me to Sue My Employer for an Upper Body Injury Sustained at Work?
If you were involved in any sort of accident in the workplace and suffered an injury that prevented you from working and bringing in your normal wage, would entitle you to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained. By law, employers are responsible when it comes to keeping you and all your work colleagues as well as visitors to the workplace safe from injury and harm. Employers are therefore, legally required to hold liability insurance which must meet the legally required minimum cover of £5 million. The policy must also be issued by a recognised insurance company and if an employer fails to abide by the law, they could be fined by the enforcing authority for not doing so.
When you sue your employer for injuries sustained through no fault of your own in the workplace, it is their insurance provider who deals with your case whether your employer denies or accepts liability. It is the insurance company that pays out the upper body injury compensation you may be awarded in a successful personal injury claim and not your employer. It is also noteworthy that the majority of personal injury claims including those that are work-related are settled prior to going to court by an employer’s liability insurance provider. By offering you an out of court settlement, the insurer would not have to pay the legal costs involved which includes yours and theirs if your upper body injury claim is upheld by a judge.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Your employer must ensure that all workers and people visiting the workplace are kept safe from injury and harm. There are laws in place that employers must abide by and if they fail to do so which results in you sustaining an upper body injury, your employer could be held responsible.
Your employer’s responsibilities in the workplace include making sure the following is set in place to reduce the risk of harm and injury to workers and other people from happening:
- That appropriate and ongoing training is made available to all workers
- That all equipment, tools and machinery are kept is acceptable working order
- That risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis to identify hazards in the workplace
- That reasonable measures are put in place to minimise the risk of an accident happening in a working environment
- That all workers are made aware of “good” working practices and procedures
- That all workers are provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
If you suffer an upper body injury at work because of employer negligence, you would have the right to sue for compensation.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
Your employer must keep you safe while you are working for them and if they fail to do so and you are injured or you develop a health issue as a direct result, you may be entitled to seek compensation from your employer. Your “rights” in the workplace include but are not limited to the following:
- That your employer does not object to you filing a personal injury claim against them
- That you do not have to worry about losing your job because you seek compensation for injuries you sustained
If an employer tries to prevent you from suing them for compensation, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in employment law because you may be able to seek further compensation from them because your employer would be acting unlawfully.
What Damages and Losses Can I Include in an Upper Body Injury Claim?
When you file a work-related personal injury claim against an employer, you can include the following:
- Compensation for injuries you sustained in the workplace which covers your pain, suffering and loss of amenity and which comes under “general damages”
- Compensation for all the costs and out of pocket expenses you incurred as a result of having sustained an upper body injury through no fault of your own in the workplace which comes under “special damages”
Could I Lose My Job If I File an Upper Body Injury Claim Against My Employer?
Your employer would be acting “unlawfully” if they sacked you because you filed a work-related personal injury claim against them. You have the right to seek compensation if you sustained an upper body injury in the workplace and you can prove that your employer was liable because they were negligent in their duty to keep you safe while in their employment.
If your employer threatens to fire you and they do not have “good reason” for doing so, you may be entitled to file more legal action against them and to be compensated an acceptable amount due to their unlawful actions.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Upper Body Injury Claim?
If you can satisfy a solicitor that your upper body injury happened in the workplace through no fault of your own, they would offer to work on your case on what is known as a No Win No Fee agreement or CFA.
This is a legal contract that details the terms and conditions as well as the service the solicitor has agreed to provide. The agreement also sets out the agreed “success fee” which is the percentage that would be directly deducted from the upper body injury compensation you are awarded in a successful claim against your employer. Should you lose your claim, the “success fee” would be waived because the solicitor entered into a No Win No Fee agreement with you.
As previously mentioned, when you are awarded upper body injury compensation, the amount you would pay the solicitor, the “success fee” is deducted from the amount you receive by the solicitor who represented you. In short, you would not have to find the money to pay the agreed fee taking all financial pressures off you which allows you to place all your focus on recovering from the upper body injury you sustained while you were at work.
What Are The Advantages of Working With a Solicitor on an Upper Body Injury Claim?
Work-related personal injury claims tend to be complex with many legal pitfalls to negotiate. As such, it is essential to get things “right” from the word go to reduce the risk of an accident at work claim not meeting the criteria needed for it to be valid. Gathering the correct evidence to support a claim is also something that can take time and effort. Again the proof that would be needed must be relevant to the case. A solicitor has vast experience in handling personal injury claims for employees and as such, there are many benefits to having a solicitor represent you from the outset of filing an accident at work claim against a negligent employer for injuries you sustained while in their employment.
Some of the benefits of working with a No Win No Fee solicitor on an upper body injury claim includes the following:
- You would be provided with a no obligation, initial consultation which allows a solicitor the opportunity of assessing your claim before agreeing to work on a No Win No Fee basis with you. You would be under no obligation to continue with your accident at work claim should you not wish to proceed
- Solicitors have vast experience when it comes to knowing what evidence is needed to prove employer negligence and which would strengthen your claim against them
- They have access to all the legal libraries which they can access when required
- Solicitors understand pre-action protocols and the statutory 3 year time limit associated with all personal injury claims reducing the risk of running out of time to file a claim
- Solicitors have lots of experience when it comes to communicating with liability insurance providers
- The solicitor would inform you as soon as reasonably possible of the amount you may be awarded in a successful upper body injury claim against a negligent employer
- A solicitor would ensure that the amount of upper body injury compensation you receive is fair and acceptable
- A solicitor would ensure that you receive interim payments should your case be a lengthy one
- The solicitor would ensure that you receive ongoing treatment should your upper body injury be such that your require long-term care
Working with a solicitor on your upper body injury claim also allows you to fully focus on your recovery without the worry of having to find the money to pay for legal representation at a time when you need it the most. Having the legal expertise of an accident at work lawyer work on your case also means that should your injuries be so severe that you require ongoing treatment and therapy, they would ensure that this is included in the upper body injury compensation you are awarded in a successful personal injury claim.
If you were injured in the workplace and would like to know more about working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis, the following link provides essential reading on the topic:
If your employer threatened you with redundancy because you filed an accident at work claim against them and would like more information on the law relating to your “worker’s rights”, please follow the link below:
To find out more about employer’s liability insurance, please click on the link below: