If you suffered any sort of injury or developed a work-related medical condition and you want to file an accident at work claim, your employer cannot by law prevent you from doing so, providing you can prove the incident occurred while you were at work and through employer negligence. There are other criteria that must be met when seeking compensation for a workplace injury or health issue which are detailed in this article. To find out more about how to deal with your employer if they do not want you to file accident at work claim, please read on.
What Are My Rights If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
Your rights are highly protected under UK law and this includes when you sustain an injury whether minor or more severe while you are in the employment of a person and you are carrying out your normal daily duties. These rights also cover you should you develop any sort of medical condition that can be directly linked to the job you do or used to do. Being aware of your “rights” is essential because should you have the misfortune of suffering an injury in an accident at work or you are diagnosed as suffering from a work-related health issue, means you would know what to do and what you must not do.
Your rights following a workplace accident that leaves you injured or suffering from a health issue are as follows:
- To seek medical treatment – you cannot be prevented from seeking treatment for your injuries or a medical condition you developed. Should your employer try to stop you, they would be breaking the law. A lot of companies and businesses have a designated person who handles all aspect of first-aid following an injury in the workplace. However, you have the right to seek outside medical attention should you want to or your injuries are such that you need to be examined by a doctor or nurse at the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital or your own GP
- Make sure there is an official record – should you have developed a work-related illness, you must make sure that your employer has been officially notified of your circumstances by letter. If you were injured in an accident at work, you must ensure that a record of the incident has officially been made and that the details of the accident and your injuries are correct. Do no sign any record that you feel is not correct and which does not tally with your version of how the incident occurred
- Establish what level of sick pay you would be entitled to receive – you may not be entitled to “full” sick pay if you are on “sick leave”. As such, you must check your contract of employment to see if you are. With this said, all employees who have to take time off having been injured in a workplace accident are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You should establish that the person who employs you has indeed registered you to receive SSP. Another way of finding out if you are registered, is to contact the local benefits office
- Make sure you attend all your medical appointments – even if you have gone back to work, you must still attend any medical appointments that have been arranged for you. This includes going to physiotherapy treatments and check-ups with specialists or consultants. Your employer cannot prevent you from having time off to attend these appointments
- Make sure you take enough time off to fully recover – it is essential that you take an adequate amount of time off work to ensure you make a full recovery from the injuries you sustained. This is not only for your own benefit, but for that of your employer too. The reason being that having enough time off ensures that when you do return to work, you can commit to carrying out your full normal daily duties. Should your employer apply pressure on you to return to work before you are fully ready to do so, you should seek the advice of an employment law solicitor. The reason being that if you are “unfit” to carry out the work you normally do, you could not only be putting your own health, safety and well-being at risk, but that of your work colleagues too
- Ask to do “light” duties – when you return to work having recovered from an illness or injury sustained at work, you should consider doing “lighter” duties which is especially true if your job entails heavy lifting or standing for longer periods of time. You have every right to request this from your employer who is obliged to accept this request providing it is possible
- Seeking compensation – you have a legal right to seek compensation to recover any losses you incurred as a direct result of having suffered an injury in the workplace. The compensation would also cover the pain and the discomfort you had to endure due to the injuries you sustained. Should your employer object to the fact that you would like to file an accident at claim and receive compensation from them, you should seek legal advice because there could be grounds for filing a “constructive dismissal” claim against them
- Filing an accident at work claim – you have a legal right to file an accident at work claim providing your case meets specific criteria. This is that the illness or injury was sustained at work in the last 3 years and that you can prove negligence on the part of your employer or a work colleague
Familiarise Yourself with Your Employer’s Responsibilities Towards You
Know your employer’s responsibilities towards you – it is essential that you are aware of your employer’s responsibilities towards you as an employee. You should ask yourself the following:
- Were you given sufficient training to do your job – if you feel the answer is “no”, then your employer could be in breach of their duty to keep you safe in the workplace
- Were you provided with enough guidance when it comes to accident at work management protocols, what hazards and dangers were in the workplace and who the first-aid officer was?
- Were you given the correct and adequate personal protective equipment to carry out a job – again if the answer is “no”, your employer could be held responsible for the injuries you sustained
- Was the machine, equipment or tool you were using to carry out the job correctly serviced and maintained according to the manufacturer’s guidelines?
- Were you made aware of where the accident report book was located and how incidents had to be recorded?
- Was your employer made aware of any hazards and dangers in the workplace and did they fail to set in place measures to reduce the risk of employees being injured?
- Was the accident reportable to RIDDOR and did your employer report the incident?
It is against the law for an Employer to put pressure on you or to threaten you – an employer cannot treat you detrimentally because you seek compensation. They cannot threaten you with losing your job either because it is against the law to do so. As such, you should not have to worry about being fired if you file an accident at work claim nor should an employer imply that you could be made redundant for doing so, which is also illegal to do.
If an employer does go down this route, there could be legal grounds to take out further action against them and this includes filing a detriment claim. As such, it is best to discuss your case with a solicitor who would provide essential advice on how best to proceed should this be the case.
What You Have the Right to Include in an Accident at Work Claim?
You have the right to include the following when filing an accident at work claim against an employer:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages are awarded as part of your compensation and they cover the following:
- The pain and suffering you endured as a direct result of having been injured in a workplace accident
- Your loss of earnings which should include any perks or other bonuses you would have received if you were at work
- Any loss of future wages should you be unable to carry out your normal job again
- Not being able to enjoy activities and hobbies that you used to do prior to being injured in a workplace accident.
Special damages are awarded in a successful accident at work claim and they cover all “actual” costs and expenses that you had to pay out as a direct result of your injuries. This includes travel and medical expenses as well as other costs you had to pay during the time you were recovering from your injuries and which were incurred as a direct result of having been involved in accident at work. It is very important that you keep the receipts of all the costs and expenses as these would be needed as proof of the expenditure you incurred and would be factored into the amount of compensation you are awarded.
Do I Have the Right to Sue My Employer if I am Injured in an Accident at Work?
Providing your accident at work claim meets the criteria listed above, you have a legal right to seek compensation from your employer. An employer cannot prevent you from doing so and if they do threaten you with redundancy or dismissal, they would be breaking the law. If this is the case, the best course of action to take is to contact a lawyer because you could also have a legal right to file not only an unfair dismissal claim against your employer, but you could take out other legal action too.
Employers must have liability insurance and they should display the policy clearly in the workplace for everyone to see. The insurance policy must also meet the legally required level of cover which is £5 million. The policy must be provided by a recognised insurance company. Should your employer not have valid liability insurance, they could face hefty fines from the enforcing authority which could be £2,500 a day.
Could I Lose My Job or Be Made Redundant for Filing an Accident at Work Claim?
Your employer would be breaking the law if they sack you for filing a claim for compensation against them. It is also illegal for an employer to threaten you with redundancy because you do. They would breaching your rights and could be liable for further legal action being taken out against them. As such, you should contact an employment lawyer and discuss your case before resigning or walking out the door unless you are left with no other option.
You could be entitled to file several claims against your boss which includes a constructive dismissal claim as well as a detriment claim. A solicitor would provide essential advice on how best to proceed should your employer act in this manner towards you bearing in mind that an employer must have a “good and valid” reason for showing you the door other than you wanting to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained or health issue you developed.
Working With a Solicitor on an Accident at Work Claim
If you were injured in a workplace accident, you should discuss the circumstances surrounding your case and the lead up to how the incident occurred with a solicitor. No matter how minor or extensive your injuries are, you could be entitled to a level of compensation that would make life easier for you. An accident at work lawyer would take on your case once they are satisfied of the following:
- That your claim is valid
- That your employer could be held responsible for your injuries
- That the incident occurred in the last 3 years which is the statutory time limit for all personal injury claims
Having legal advice when you need it the most helps you through what is often a complex process that if not done correctly from the word go can slow things down considerably. This is especially true as insurance providers have a reputation of being slow to respond to the correspondence they receive. A solicitor with experience in handling accident at work claims has access to information pertaining to past cases that are recorded in legal libraries which they can use as references when handling your claim whether it goes to court or your employer’s insurance providers offers to settle out of court.