There are many laws and legislation which are set in place to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees in the workplace. A worker who suffers an injury or who develops a work-related medical condition, has the right to seek compensation from an employer. Should you have been involved in a workplace accident and the incident happened in the last 3 years through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim against an employer.
Your Employer’s Duty Towards You
An employer has a duty towards all employees which is to keep them safe from injury and harm while they are carrying out their normal daily duties in the workplace. Health and Safety Executive regulations are clear when it comes to a working environment and all employers as well as employees, must abide by them at all times. An employer must not ask you to carry out a task without having been adequately trained to do so and you must not be asked to “cut corners” when you carry out a task. If an employer does request that you cut corners and the result is that you suffer an injury in the workplace as a direct result, you have the right to make a personal injury claim against an employer.
Other responsibilities your employer has towards you in the workplace, includes the following:
- That tools, machinery and equipment used to carry out your job, are correctly serviced and maintained as per a manufacturer’s recommendations
- To identify risks and hazards in the workplace by carrying out regular risk assessments
- To provide you with detailed working practices and procedures which must be made available at all times
- To make sure you are given the correct personal protective equipment – PPI- which must be properly stored and maintained
Should your employer fail in any of the above, it could mean they could be held liable for the injuries you sustained and as such you would be entitled to make a personal injury claim against an employer.
Your Responsibilities in the Workplace
As an employee, you have responsibilities in the workplace which includes acting “reasonably” at all times. If you act in an irresponsible manner and it results in you being injured in a workplace accident, you would not be able to seek compensation as you would be held liable for the injuries you sustained and not your employer.
You must also adhere to all working practices and Health and Safety Executive regulations. If you fail to abide by any of them and you cause an accident that leaves you injured, you would not be able to seek compensation because you would be held responsible. With this said, it could be that you were not given adequate training to carry out a task or your employer failed to provide you with detailed working practices in which case you should seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims. The reason being that your employer could be deemed partly responsible for the injuries you sustained which is known as “contributory negligence”.
Should a solicitor believe that your employer was partly responsible for the accident that left you injured, they would explain that the amount of compensation that may be awarded in a successful claim would reflect the level of your “liability” and as such you would receive less than if your employer was fully responsible.
The Process of Reporting an Accident at Work
All workplace accidents must be recorded not only because it is essential that you have an official report of the incident if you are going to make a personal injury claim against an employer, but also as a way of preventing similar future workplace accidents occurring. You must report your accident at work as soon as you can and you should make sure the record of the incident is noted in the Accident Report Book or by some other official means, whether by personal email or recorded letter to your employer.
Should your injuries prevent you from reporting a workplace accident, a work colleague or the person in charge should ensure this is done on your behalf. Once you are able to, you should check that the record of the incident were correctly noted and if you find there are errors, you have the right to amend the details you believe are not right. Once you are satisfied that the information is correct, you should sign the report but, if you are unhappy with the record and are not able to correct any details, you should not sign the record as detailed in the Accident Report Book.
A record of the incident is essential key information about a workplace accident as it would be required when establishing whether you have a valid claim against an employer who failed to keep you safe from injury in the workplace.
Getting a Medical Report
If your injuries are such that you are taken by ambulance to the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital, the doctor who treats you would write up a detailed report of your injuries. It is important that even minor symptoms be recorded because often a minor injury can turn into something a lot more serious further down the line.
Should you be treated by your own GP, you should request they provide a “Medical Statement” detailing your injuries or a Doctor’s Note. In both instances, you must check that all the details recorded in an official medical report are correct.
What Happens If My Accident at Work Goes Unreported?
You could still make a personal injury claim against an employer even if the incident was not recorded. The proof you would need to provide in this instance is as follows:
- Witness statements and their contact details
- A medical report detailing the extent of the injuries you sustained whether provided by an A&E doctor or your own GP
Although you would still be entitled to seek compensation from your employer if you can provide the above, having an official record of an accident at work strengthens you case considerably.
The Law Pertaining to Accidents at Work
Should you have suffered a workplace injury and the incident occurred through no fault of your own, the best course of action to take is to contact a solicitor. A lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims for employees has vast experience when it comes to knowing what sort of evidence is required to prove a case. If there is enough evidence that your employer failed in their duty to keep you safe from harm in the workplace, under UK law, you have the right to seek compensation by making a personal injury claim against an employer.
What Can Be Included If I Make a Personal Injury Claim Against an Employer?
The amount of compensation that you can claim would depend on the type and extent of your injuries or the work-related medical condition you developed. Another factor that would be taken into consideration, is the length of time it would take you to recover from a workplace injury and whether your injuries are so severe, you would not be able to work again. A personal injury solicitor would arrange for an independent consultant/specialist to examine you.
They would then provide an independent medical report detailing your injuries and how your life is negatively impacted. Should your injuries be extremely severe, you may find that you would need several medical reports which must be carried out by independent medical professionals who are experts in their field. These reports would be used as a basis for the “general damages” that you may be awarded in a successful personal injury claim against an employer.
Another advantage of working with an accident at work lawyer when you make a personal injury claim against an employer, is that they would be able to arrange for you to receive private professional rehabilitation should your injuries be such that they merit it. Receiving the right physiotherapy at the right time, can help speed up your recovery and get you back to work sooner rather than later.
What Financial Losses Can I Include in a Personal Injury Claim Against an Employer?
On top of the general damages that you can claim in a personal injury claim against an employer, you can claim “special damages” some of which are detailed below:
• Sick pay
• Loss of earnings
• Loss of future earnings
• Medical expenses
• Travel costs
• Loss of amenity
Sick Pay You Would Receive When You Make a Personal Injury Claim Against an Employer
Even if you decide to make a personal injury claim against an employer, you would still receive statutory sick pay (SSP). However, if written into your employment contract, you may also get sick pay from your employer. The solicitor who works on your case would ask to see 13 week’s-worth of pay slips which you received prior to being involved in a workplace accident. The solicitor would also need to see any pay slips you received during the time you were off work and the pay slips you received for around 13 week’s following your return to work.
Your Employment Rights
Your employment rights are extremely protected and are not affected in any way should you make a personal injury claim against an employer. You cannot be fired from a job just because you seek compensation for an injury you sustained through no fault of your own but rather through either employer negligence or because a work colleague caused the accident through error or misjudgement.
Should an employer threaten you with the sack or redundancy, treat you detrimentally or unfairly because you make a personal injury claim against them, you should contact a lawyer who specialises in employment law who would provide essential advice on whether you can take further legal action out against a negligent employer.
Personal Injury Claim Time Limit
You have 3 years from the time you were involved in a workplace accident to make a personal injury claim against an employer. However, if you were injured in the workplace prior to having turned 18 years of age, the time limit begins from your 18th birthday. Should you develop a medical condition that can be linked to the job you carry out, the 3 year time limit begins from the date you were officially diagnosed as suffering from a work-related health issue and this applies to industrial and occupational disease claims against employers.
Would I Have to Go to Court if I Make a Personal Injury Claim Against an Employer?
It is your employer’s insurance provider who would deal with your personal injury claim, and providing they do not argue the case against them, you would not have to go to court in person. The same can be said if the amount you are claiming is disputed by your employer who also believes they cannot be held responsible for the injuries you sustained in the workplace. In short, should your claim be disputed for any reason, it may be necessary for you to attend court because you would be required to “prove” your case before a judge.
Working with a personal injury claim lawyer means you receive the guidance needed to negotiate what is often a complex court process. However, it is worth bearing in mind that most personal injury claims, 95%, are settled by an employer’s insurers before they reach the courts.
Are There Specific Things I Can Include in a Personal Injury Claim?
As previously mentioned, when filing a personal injury claim, there are specific things that can be included which are set out into two categories, namely “general” and “special” damages. With this said the amount of compensation that you would receive would depend on the complexity of your claim and the extent of the workplace injuries you sustained. Another factor that would be taken into consideration is whether you would be able to work again.
General damages include the following:
- You would be compensated for the injuries you sustained factoring in how much your overall health, well-being and future life has been impacted. This includes whether you would need to receive ongoing treatment and whether your injuries would prevent you from working again. Should you make a recovery, you would be compensated for the time you were off work and therefore missed out on your salary and any other perks or bonuses you would have typically received had you not be injured in a workplace accident
Special damages include the following:
- When it comes to special damages that may be awarded, these are much easier to calculate as they are based on the out-of-pocket expenses and other costs you incurred due to having been injured in a workplace accident. As such, it is essential that you preserve all receipts for travel costs, medical expenses and other expenditures that you had to make as a result of having been injured in a workplace accident
Can I Get a Solicitor to Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on a Personal Injury Claim?
No Win No Fee agreements are commonplace these days, with the majority of lawyers willing to work with clients in this manner. However, a solicitor would need to assess that you have a strong personal injury claim against an employer before agreeing to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This would be carried out during a no obligation, initial consultation whether over the phone or in a meeting which is typically free of charge. Once the lawyer finds that your employer could be held liable for the workplace injuries you sustained, they would agree to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis by signing a CFA which is a legal contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement.
The CFA details the terms and conditions of the agreement and it lays out the percentage known as a “success fee” that would only be payable when you receive the amount you are seeking in compensation in your personal injury claim. This agreed “percentage” is taken from the amount you receive, but should you lose your case, there would be nothing to pay the lawyer who represented you in your personal injury claim against your employer.