An employer is legally obliged to make sure you are safe while you are working for them. Employees too should follow working procedures, practices and rules that are in place and which are there to keep everyone safe from harm and injury. However, accidents at work do happen and if you strongly believe that you were not at fault, but rather that your employer could have done more to keep you safe, you should seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor more especially if your employer has not admitted liability or fault for the workplace injuries you sustained.
Seeking Legal Advice if Your Employer Has Not Admitted Liability or Fault?
If you were injured in the workplace but your employer refuses to admit fault or liability, you should contact an experienced accident at work solicitor. Your claim would be assessed in a no obligation consultation which is normally free of charge. The solicitor would then determine whether your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained whilst in their employment. You may find that it only takes a solicitor’s letter to your employer for them to accept responsibility for the workplace accident that left you injured.
If the circumstances leading up to the incident that left you injured may be less obvious making it easier for your boss to deny liability, the solicitor may recommend issuing court proceedings against your employer. Should this be the case, the process can take some time to reach an acceptable settlement. It is worth noting that your employer’s liability insurance provider could be the ones who encourage your employer to deny liability but then change their minds once they receive a letter from your solicitor and offer to settle before the case goes before a judge. The reason being that should you win your accident at work claim in court, the insurers would have to pay all your legal costs on top of their own costs.
It is essential that you follow the advice given by an experienced solicitor when filing an accident at work claim against an employer who denies liability and to provide all the evidence relating to the workplace accident as you can from the outset when you contact them. The more information the solicitor has, the faster they would be able to begin an investigation into who could be held liable for the injuries you sustained while in the workplace.
What is Contributory Negligence in the Workplace?
If your employer denies they were responsible for the workplace injuries you sustained, once a solicitor has assessed your claim and they believe that your employer could be partly liable, it would come under the legal term of “contributory negligence”. An example being as follows:
Your employer did all they could by exercising the correct “duty of care” towards you by setting in place good working practices and ensured that all employees received the correct level of training, but you were still involved in an accident in the workplace that left you injured because you failed to adhere to the working practices by not wearing the safety equipment you were given.
A court could rule that you were partly responsible for your injuries and that your employer could also be held partly liable. Where contributory negligence is attributed to a case, it would mean that the amount of accident at work compensation you may be awarded would reflect the level of “contributory negligence” that an employer is deemed to have had in the injuries you suffered.
What Happens If My Totally Denies Liability for the Injuries I Sustained?
Should your employer deny any responsibility for the injuries you sustained while in their employment, you should seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer sooner rather than later. The lawyer would assess your claim to see whether you have a strong chance of succeeding should your case go before a judge. If they feel that your claim is strong, the lawyer would recommend that you file a lawsuit against your employer should they continue to refute any responsibility for the workplace injuries you suffered while in their employment.
Should your lawyer feel that your employer has a stronger case than you and that should it go to court, you would ultimately lose, they would recommend that you drop your case against your employer. If you signed a CFA with the solicitor you contacted, you would not have to pay any fees for the legal advice and representation they provided even at this stage. It is worth noting that nobody really wants to go to court unless they know that their case is strong enough to win and that it is more typical for most personal injury claims to be settled beforehand.
Do I Have Rights in the Workplace if I Am Injured?
Your worker’s rights cover you when you are injured in an accident at work. These rights are as follows:
- That you can claim compensation from your employer providing your claim meets the right criteria
- That your job is safe if you file an accident at work claim against your employer
If your employer tells you that you cannot file a claim against them and that if you do, you would sacked or made redundant, your employer would be breaking the law. There must be another “good and valid” reason for you to be fired other than the fact you choose to seek compensation for injuries you sustained while you were at work. If you are threatened or treated unfairly in any way because you choose to file an accident at work claim against your employer, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in employment law. You may be able to file further legal action against your employer.
Does My Employer Have Responsibilities Towards Employees?
Employers have a duty towards all employees which is to ensure they are kept safe from injury and harm while they are in the workplace and carrying out their normal daily tasks. The working environment has to be safe and all tools, equipment and machinery correctly maintained to reduce the risk of injury to workers who use them.
Your employer must abide by all Health and Safety Executive regulations and other laws that are set in place to keep employees safe while they are at work. Your employer’s responsibilities includes doing the following with an end goal being to minimise the risk of harm and injury to all employees and people who visit a workplace:
- To ensure that all employees are aware and adhere to the working practices and procedures in the workplace
- To ensure that all employees are adequately trained to carry out the jobs they are tasked to do and that ongoing training is provided on a regular basis
- To ensure that all machinery, equipment and tools are in good working order
- To ensure that risk assessments are carried out in the workplace on a regularly basis to identify hazards, dangers and risks to employees and people who visit the workplace
- To ensure that reasonable measures are set in place to reduce the risk of an accident at work occurring
- To ensure that all employees have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed to carry out the jobs they are tasked to do safely
What is The Timescale for a Liability Insurer to Respond to My Accident at Work Claim?
There are “pre-action protocols” that set out the response times that a liability insurer must abide by when they receive personal injury claims from people who have been injured in the workplace or elsewhere. An experienced accident at work lawyer would ensure that these protocols are adhered to by all parties concerned so that your claim is settled as quickly as possible, bearing in mind that insurers may attempt to drag their feet during every stage of an accident at work claim against employers.
The “protocols” are designed to ensure that personal injury claims get processed effectively in an expedient way and they also make it much easier for solicitors to carry out the necessary investigations. The protocols set specific deadlines which liability insurance providers must abide by when they respond to work-related and other personal injury claims. The deadlines also include the time an insurer has to carry out the necessary investigations into the allegations that have been made against a third party, in this instance it would be your employer.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the deadlines as well as the guidelines, could vary from case to case and the type of personal injury claim that is involved. Examples being that “pre-action protocols” are different where road accident claims, medical negligence clams are filed as compared to those relating to personal injury claims.
Pre-action Protocols Relating to Personal Injury Claims
The pre-action protocols relating to personal injury claims lay out that an insurer has 3 months to respond to a case. The deadline begins from the date your solicitor submitted your “letter of claim” to a liability insurance provider. The process is as follows:
- An accident at work lawyer submits the “letter of claim” to your employer outlining your intentions and which sets out the “specifics” of your case as well as why you are holding them liable for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- This letter must be responded to within 21 days
- It is from this point of your claim that your employer’s liability insurance provider has 3 months to investigate the allegations made against your employer and to then respond to the accident at work solicitor who represents you
- When the 3 month period ends, the reply from the liability insurance provider must state whether your employer admits or denies responsibility for the injuries you sustained in the workplace. Should your employer deny liability, the letter from their insurer must state what is known as “disclosure evidence” which must provide the reasons why your employer denies responsibility and the letter must state their “defence”
Should your employer’s insurance provider fail to respond to your accident at work solicitor’s letter within the specified time as laid out in the “pre-action protocols”, your solicitor would recommend going through the courts with your personal injury claim against your employer.
Can I Include My Losses and Damages in an Accident at Work Claim?
The way compensation is worked out in personal injury claims is quite specific. You can claim both your damages and losses which are broken down into two separate categories as follows:
- General Damages – you would be able to claim accident at work compensation for the injuries you sustained which covers the extent of your injuries and how your life and ability to work has been impacted. In short, the more extensive your injuries happen to be, the more in the way of “general damages” you would receive if your personal injury claim is upheld
- Special Damages – you can claim all of the expenses and other costs you had to cope with because of the workplace injuries you sustained. This covers all your medical costs, travel expenses and other money you had to pay out as a direct result of the workplace injuries you sustained. As such, it is essential that you keep all the receipts and records of the costs you incurred as proof of your out-of-pocket expenses
Should I File For Compensation Against An Employer Who Denies Liability?
All workers in the UK have rights and this includes to seek compensation if they are injured in the workplace and the accident occurred because of the negligence of an employer or because a work colleague made an error or misjudgement. Having been injured while carrying out a job in the workplace, you may not be able to bring in your normal wage.
The reason being that your injuries could mean that you are unable to work whether for a short period of time or much longer. It could make paying bills and your usual living expenses much harder to meet which puts more pressure on you and it prevents you from placing all your focus on recovering from the injuries you sustained at work.
Should your employer deny that they are responsible for the workplace accident that left you injured, it would their liability insurance provider who would have to show why this is the case. The insurer would do so when replying in the required time to the letter your accident at work solicitor sent to them at the outset.
The lawyer who represents you would then establish whether you should take your case to court and would do so if they believe that you have a strong claim and that your employer is, in fact, liable for the workplace injuries you sustained. A solicitor would only recommend filing a court action against an employer if they strongly believe the chances of your claim being upheld by a judge is high.
What is the Time Limit to Filing an Accident at Work Claim?
You would have 3 years to file an accident at work claim against your employer if you believe they were liable for the injuries you sustained while you were in their employment. The statutory 3 year time limit begins at different times depending on the circumstances surrounding the workplace accident that left you injured which is as follows:
- From the date you suffered an injury in the workplace
- From the date a doctor diagnosed you as suffering from a medical condition linked to the injury you sustained in the workplace
- From the date you turn 18 years old if the workplace accident happened before this date
When an accident at work claim is disputed by an employer, it is far better to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer sooner rather than later because gathering all the required evidence to prove your case, takes time and effort. Medical reports, and other documents which are needed to strengthen a claim must be verified, all of which always takes much longer than first anticipated and the sooner a case is filed, the sooner an outcome can be reached.
What are the Benefits of Working with a No Win No Fee Lawyer if My Employer Denies Liability?
Having the experience of a solicitor work with you on a claim that is disputed by your employer offers many advantages and benefits. The legal process involved in personal injury claims can be complex more especially if a claim is denied. The benefits of working with a No Win No Fee solicitor when challenging a claim that is denied includes the following:
- Your first consultation would be free of charge and it allows the solicitor the chance to assess whether you have a strong case against a negligent employer
- The solicitor would ask you to sign a CFA which sets out the Terms and Conditions of the contract between you and the lawyer who represents you on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that should the lawyer find that your case is not strong enough to go before a judge, you would not have to worry about having to pay for the legal advice and legal representation you were provided with at that point of the process
- Should the No Win No Fee solicitor feel that your case against your employer is strong enough to go to court, they would gather all the required evidence and proof to present to the judge on your behalf
- The solicitor would let you know at the earliest opportunity how much accident at work compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim
- The solicitor would ensure that pre-action protocols are respected which can speed up your claim considerably
- The solicitor would also ensure that the statutory 3 year time limit associated with personal injury claims is respected
- A solicitor would ensure that you receive the right level of accident at work compensation you deserve
- The solicitor would also be able to negotiate interim payments for you should your case be such that it takes longer to reach an acceptable, final settlement
An experienced accident at work lawyer also has access to legal libraries which they can refer to when they need to and which they can use as “precedents” when presenting your case in court. When an employer denies liability for injuries an employee suffers in the workplace, the solicitor who represents you would work hard to prove that liability for the injuries you sustain would fall to your employer and providing there is enough evidence to prove this to be the case, your solicitor would strongly recommend that you file a lawsuit against your employer stating the reasons why they could be held responsible for the accident at work that left you with injuries.
If you were involved in an accident at work that left you with injuries and would like to have more information of what workplace incidents have to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (RIDDOR), please follow the link below:
To find out more information on Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) otherwise known as No Win No Fee agreements that are set in place between you and a solicitor, please click on the link below: