If you were in an accident at work and suffered any sort of injury, whether minor or more severe, and you believe that your employer was at fault through negligence, you could be entitled to claim compensation from them. All employers in the UK have a duty to ensure that a working environment is safe and to minimise the risk of harm or injury to all employees and people who visit the working environment.
Employers also have a duty to ensure that should you work offsite it is safe for you to do so. If your boss was at fault for an accident at work, you could claim compensation providing you have evidence to prove your case. To find out how to prove an accident at work claim, and how to file a claim for compensation, please read on.
The Laws That Protect You in the Workplace
There are several laws as well as Health and Safety Executive legislation that are there to protect you as an employee. Specific injuries and workplace accidents must by law be reported to RIDDOR and employers are legally obliged to do so. The laws that protect all employees in the workplace are detailed below:
- Employment Rights Act 1996
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Equality Act 2010
When an employer fails to abide to the law/legislation and as a result you suffer an injury in an accident at work, they could be held liable through negligence and as such, an employer could be sued by the injured party for compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity they endured through no fault of their own. Because work-related personal injury claims can be complex, it is best to seek legal advice from a solicitor from the outset to avoid the many legal pitfalls that could lead to your accident at work claim being turned down or being “time barred” because the statutory time limit has expired.
Your Employers’ Legal Duty To Hold Liability Insurance
All employers must have liability insurance and the policy must be issued by a recognised insurance provider. The insurance covers accidents at work injuries as well as work-related medical conditions that an employee may develop during the course of their working life as a direct result of the work they do.
When you sue your boss for compensation because you were injured in a workplace accident, it is the insurance provider who pays the amount you receive for the injuries you sustained. Your compensation would not only cover your injuries but would also include all the out-of-pocket expenses and other costs you incurred as a result of the negligence of your boss.
The insurance certificate should also be well displayed in the workplace so that employees and other people can clearly see which insurance company has insured the policy. If the certificate is not displayed, your employer is obliged to provide you with these details when you request them. When suing an employer for an accident at work injury, the goal of the compensation you receive is put you back to the position you were in prior to being injured in the workplace.
Employment Law and Reporting An Accident at Work
All serious accidents at work as well as dangerous incidents and work-related diseases must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (RIDDOR). It is also a legal obligation to report a fatal injury that occurs in the workplace. Employers can do this by calling the Incident Contact Centre.
The injuries and incidents that must be reported to H&E are as follows:
- All workplace accidents that result in major injuries being sustained by employees as well as other people who may be visiting a workplace. Examples being broken ribs or a broken arm
- All dangerous incidents examples being people being exposed and overcome by leaking gas or the scaffolding collapsing
- All injuries that prevent employees from carrying out their normal jobs for over 7 days
- Work-related diseases
Your employer is the person who is obliged by law to report any of the above accidents and injuries that occur in the workplace. However, if you have been injured at work, making sure that an accident has been reported to the relevant authority is always a good idea and you should do this as soon as you are able to.
Is My Employer Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?
It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that a workplace is safe for both employees and other people who visit a working environment by adhering to Health and Safety regulations. The legislation also means that your employer must decide on the number of “first-aiders” who would be required in a workplace and the type of equipment as well as facilities that would be needed. It is worth noting that employees who also work as first-aiders, are not entitled to receive extra pay although some employers do choose to pay more to employees who do work as first-aiders in the workplace.
As an employee, you too are required by law to make sure that you abide by all Health and Safety regulations as well as working practices and procedures as set out by your employer.
What Other Responsibilities Does My Employer Have in the Workplace?
Your employer’s responsibilities in the workplace include the following:
- To make sure that you and all other employees and workers are correctly and adequately trained to carry out jobs in the workplace. Ongoing training must also be provided on a regular basis
- To make sure that all the tools, equipment and machinery that you and your work colleagues use are correctly maintained and in good working order
- To make sure that risk assessments are carried out in the workplace to identify all risks and hazards that may be present and to put in place reasonable measures so that harm and injury to employees and other people who visit a working environment is kept to a minimum
- To make sure that all employees and workers are made aware of detailed working practices and procedures
- To make sure that all employees and workers are provided with the correct and adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) and that the equipment is correctly stored and in good condition
Do I Have to Report an Accident at Work to My Employer?
All workplace injuries whether minor or more severe should always be reported to employers or the people in charge of a working environment. The incident must be recorded in the Accident Report Book. However, smaller companies/businesses are not required to keep an accident report book but larger companies are. The report must detail all aspects of the workplace accident, the injuries sustained and the amount of time an injured employee was unable to work.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
All worker’s rights are protected in the UK which means that you cannot be prevented from doing the following if you are injured in an accident in the workplace:
- Seeking compensation for the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own
- That your job is safe if you choose to file a claim against your employer because they were negligent and failed to keep you safe from harm and injury while in their employment
It would be unlawful for your employer to attempt to prevent you from filing a work-related personal injury claim against them, and if they do, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor because you may be entitled to seek further compensation for your employer’s actions.
What You Should Do Following an Accident at Work That Leaves You Injured
The steps you must take following an accident at work in which you were injured whether your injuries are minor or a lot more severe are as follows:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Make sure there is an official record of the incident and the injuries you sustained
- Make sure an accident and your injuries were reported to RIDDOR by your employer if the incident was a reportable one
- Make sure you get an official medical report from the doctor who treated you which should include even the minor symptoms you may be experiencing
- Take photos of your injuries before any treatment was received
- Take photos of where the workplace accident occurred
- Get witness statements and their contact details
- If there is CCTV of the accident, request a copy which your employer must provide in a timely manner
What Damages and Losses Can I Include Against My Employer?
All personal injury compensation claims are calculated in two specific categories which are “general damages” and “special damages”. The former are awarded to compensate you for the injuries you sustained at work and as such the amount you may be awarded would depend on how severe your injuries are and how your life, well-being and ability to work have been impacted.
Special damages cover all your financial losses which you incurred because of the workplace injuries that you sustained. As such, it is much easier to calculate how much you may be awarded if your accident at work claim against a negligent employer is successful. The losses you would be awarded would cover your travel and medical expenses as well as all other costs you had to pay out because of the injuries you suffered at work.
Should I Sue My Employer If They Are Responsible for My Workplace Injuries?
If your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm while you are working for them, you have the right to seek compensation from them. Your injuries may oblige you to take time off work to recover which means that you would typically only receive statutory sick pay (SSP) and your normal wage. This could put you and your loved ones under tremendous financial pressure or you may have to dig into your savings to pay monthly bills and other living expenses. Some employers do pay extra sick pay to employees who have time off work to recover from a workplace injury so it is important to check your employment contract to see if this is so.
Claiming compensation would take a lot of the financial worries you may have to cope with and would ensure that you receive an amount that is fair and acceptable which would include all the expenses you had to pay due to employer negligence. A solicitor with vast experience of representing employees who have been injured in the workplace would assess the validity of your claim and let you know at the earliest opportunity as to how much accident at work compensation you may receive in successful claim.
As previously mentioned, your employer is legally obliged to hold liability insurance and it is the insurer who would deal with your accident at work claim against your employer. It is the insurance provider who would pay the accident at work compensation you would be awarded if your case is upheld. Providing you have a strong case against your employer and can provide solid evidence that they were liable for the injuries you sustained and your employer accepts responsibility, the insurance provider would typically offer to settle your claim without having to go before a judge. This is known as offering an “out of court” settlement. Should your employer deny liability, having a solicitor represent you means they would work hard to prove that your employer was responsible and would recommend filing a lawsuit against them.
What is the Time Limit to Filing an Accident at Work Claim Against My Employer?
There is a 3 year statutory time limit which must be adhered to when filing a work-related personal injury claim against an employer if you choose to seek compensation from the injuries you sustained through their negligence. The statutory 3 years starts at different times depending on the circumstances of the accident at work you were involved in which is detailed below:
- 3 years from the time you were injured in the workplace
- 3 years from when you turned 18 years of age should the incident have happened before this date
- 3 years from where you were diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition that a medical professional has directly associated with the workplace injuries you sustained
Would I Lose My Job If I File an Accident at Work Claim Against My Employer?
Your employer would be acting unlawfully should they decide to fire you or make you redundant because you seek compensation for an injury you believe you sustained through their negligence. If you think you are being treated unfairly or detrimentally because you file an accident at work claim, you should contact a lawyer who would tell you whether you could be entitled to seek more compensation from your employer because of their actions and behaviour towards you.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Personal Injury Claim?
If your employer refuses to admit liability for the injuries you sustained in the workplace, having the expertise of a lawyer represent you offers many advantages. Even if your employer accepts responsibility to begin with, you should still discuss your claim with a solicitor because you may find that your employer’s acceptance of their liability might change once the insurance provider becomes involved in the case.
Working with a lawyer on your accident at work claim provides many benefits and would help ensure that your claim be upheld whether the case goes to court or is settled beforehand, with 95% of personal injury claims reaching a final settlement before going before a judge.
The advantages and benefits of having a solicitor handle your accident at work claim against your employer includes the following:
- Solicitors are able to refer to legal libraries which they do when researching personal accident at work claims. They can use “precedents” as a basis for your claim against an employer who could be deemed liable for the injuries you sustained while you were working for them
- Solicitors are experienced when it comes to communicating with insurance companies and always respect the required pre-action protocols associated with personal injury claims against third parties – in this instance the third party would be your boss
- A solicitor would inform you at the earliest opportunity how much accident at work compensation you could be entitled to if your case against your employer is successful – whether your employer’s insurer decides to offer a settlement before your case goes before a judge, or if your case has to go to court because your boss refuses to admit responsibility for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- A solicitor would arrange for an independent medical report on the injuries you suffered and this report would be used as a basis to calculate the amount of “general damages” you may be awarded
- A solicitor would also arrange for the cost of ongoing treatment you may require due to the extent of your injuries to be included in the amount of accident at work compensation you receive
These are just some of the benefits of having a solicitor represent you when you file an accident at work claim against your employer. Another advantage is that once a lawyer is happy that you have a strong, valid claim against your boss, they would agree to work on your case without requesting that you pay them an initial fee or ongoing fees either. The reason being that the solicitor would sign a No Win No Fee agreement with you which lays out the Terms and Conditions of what the solicitor agrees to do when representing you and it also sets out the agree percentage, the “success fee” that you would only have to pay when you are awarded the accident at work compensation you seek.
In short, the only time you pay the solicitor is when your claim is successful and the amount that you pay is directly deducted from the amount of injury at work compensation you receive. Should you lose your accident at work claim against your boss, there would be nothing to pay because you signed the Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
As previously touched upon, a solicitor would agree to work on your accident at work claim providing your case against your boss is strong enough to be upheld whether in court or in an out of court settlement. Insurance companies prefer settling personal injury claims before they get to court when a claimants case is strong against a third party because if they lose the case against them in court, insurers not only have to pay their own court costs, but the claimants too. In short, 95% of personal injury claims being settled before going in front of a judge.
To find out more about which workplace accidents, incidents, injuries and disease are reportable to RIDDOR and your employer’s responsibility to do so, please follow the link below where you will find essential reading on the topic:
If you were injured in a workplace accident because your employer was negligent in the duty to keep you safe and you would like to know more about expenses and benefits compensation you may be entitled to, please follow the link below:
To find more information about your employer’s legal responsibilities towards employees in the workplace, please follow the link below: