If you are involved in an accident at work and you suffer any sort of injury whether minor or more severe, your employer is legally required to make a record of a workplace incident. Ideally, this should be in the accident report book, but some employers might not have one, in which case details of a work-related accident should be noted down and a sent to an employer while a copy of the record should be kept by the person who was injured in a workplace accident.
Reportable Accidents at Work
Should an incident not be reported, there are consequences which includes an employer being fined, more especially if the accident was not reported to RIDDOR which in some instances is a legal requirement. The law regarding the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations are as listed below:
- Work-related fatalities must be reported
- Serious injuries to employees which results in workers having to take more than 7 consecutive days off work must be reported
- Where injuries involve industrial diseases, these must be reported
- Specific occurrences that are deemed dangerous which includes “near-misses”
- Persons injured who are not “at work” examples being members of the public
All of the above must be immediately reported to RIDDOR and other enforcing authority. Should this not be possible, a workplace accident must be reported as soon as possible thereafter with a written report being sent within 10 days of the reported incident. However, for “over-seven-day” injuries, reports must be sent to RIDDOR within 15 days of the incident occurring. Other incidents that must be recorded and kept are listed below:
- Records of all “over-3-day injuries” must be kept. This refers to all injuries where an employee or person is incapacitated for over 3 consecutive days. However, these injuries do not have to be reported to RIDDOR, but if your employer keeps an accident report book, this is sufficient as it falls under the Social Security (Claim & Payments) Regulations 1979 Act
It is worth noting that the definition of an incapacitated employee or person, is that they are not able to carry out normal activities which they are tasked to do during the course of a normal working day. It is also worth noting the 3-day and 7-day injury criteria, does not include weekends and days off.
Can Not Reporting and Recording Accidents at Work Lead to Problems?
Because it is a legal requirement for all UK employers to report specific workplace accidents and to record other incidents that result in employees or other persons being injured, the consequences of not doing so can lead to an employer being fined by the relevant authorities. Employers must by law, abide by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Failure to record and report “reportable” workplace accidents and injuries could result in an employer receiving a £20,000 fine from the enforcing authority.
Not having a report of an incident that left you injured, could also make it that much harder for you to file an accident at work claim although if you have other proof that you sustained your injuries while at work, a solicitor might be able to use this evidence to build up your case against a negligent employer. Other evidence an accident at work solicitor can use when building a case against your employer includes the following:
- A medical report of your injuries provided by a doctor or other medical professional which was carried out at the time of the accident
- Photos of where the incident occurred – if available CCTV footage can also be used to strengthen an accident at work claim that has not been reported
- Photos of the injuries you sustained before you received any treatment
- Witness statements
- Records of other accidents at the place you worked whether from the Accident Report Book or from other sources
A specialist accident at work solicitor would be able to provide essential advice on how to proceed with a claim should your employer have failed to record or report an incident that left you with injuries in the workplace.
Health and Safety at Work Regulations
Employers must carry out regular risk assessments in a workplace with an end goal being to identify dangers and hazards that could lead to employees and other persons being injured. Once identified, employers should set in place measures to reduce these risks and if they fail do so and you suffer an injury as a result which they then fail to report, it would put your employer at risk of being fined by the enforcing authority. It would also make it more challenging for you to file an accident at work claim against them although not impossible. A solicitor who specialises in this type of claim would establish that your employer failed not only to keep you safe at work, but also that they were in breach of their legal duty to record and report a workplace accident to the relevant authorities.
It is also worth noting that your employer is liable for any visitors being injured should they have failed to set in place measures to keep them safe from harm and dangers. Employers must also organise “first aiders” in the workplace and provide adequate first aid equipment that can be used in the event of a workplace accident.
What You Should Do Following a Workplace Accident That Leaves You Injured
Should you be involved in a workplace accident that leaves you with a minor or more serious injury, there are specific things that you must do even if you are not contemplating filing an accident at work claim against your employer. These are listed below:
- Report the incident the person in charge or your employer directly. If you are unable to do so because your injuries prevent you from doing so, make sure a work colleague does this on your behalf
- Ensure the incident is recorded in the accident report book, it there is no book, write the details of the accident and your injuries down and send these to your employer retaining a copy of the details for your own records
- Get photos of where the accident occurred
- Get photos of your injuries before you receive any treatments
- Get witness statements and their contact details
- Get a medical report of your injuries whether from a doctor or other medical professional
All of the above forms part of a necessary process following an accident at work that leaves you or anyone else injured. Failure to do any of the above could have serious consequences not only for your employer but also for you when it comes to filing an accident at work claim against them.
What You Should Not Do Following an Accident at Work
There are certain things you should never do following an accident at work that leaves you injured even if you think you may be responsible or partly responsible for the incident occurring. The things you should not do are as follows:
- Never sign any sort of admission of liability for the incident occurring even if an employer threatens your job. However, should an employer insist you sign a document relating to the accident, a court may disregard this should you decide to file an accident at work claim against your employer and therefore would deem that you did not admit liability
Can I Be Fired For Insisting an Accident be Reported and for Filing a Claim?
Your employer cannot legally fire you because you insist that an accident at work be recorded in an accident report book and reported to the relevant authorities when necessary. If they do, you could be entitled to file an “unfair dismissal claim” against them on top of a workplace accident claim for compensation.
It is also worth noting that the fact that a workplace accident has not been recorded or reported to the necessary authorities which includes RIDDOR, puts your employer at risk of receiving a hefty £20,000 fine. This in itself would strengthen an accident at work claim, more especially if the injuries you sustained were “reportable” by law.
Is There a Time Limit to Reporting an Accident at Work?
There is a 3 year time limit to accident at work claims which begins from the date of the incident that left you injured or from the time you became aware of your injuries or work-related health issues you may have developed. However, the accident at work time limit for people under the age of 18 differs in that the time begins from the date a person turns 18 years of age.
Although 3 years seems long enough to file a personal injury claim, the legal process of doing so and the evidence needed to prove a case, can be a complex, long draw out affair that is often hotly contested by employers and their insurers. As such, it is best to seek legal advice from an accident at work solicitor sooner rather than later to avoid falling foul of the time limit.
Should you run out of time, you may find that even though your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm and injury in the workplace, you may not be able to claim the accident at work compensation you deserve. With this said, if your employer is fined by the enforcing authorities for not recording or reporting an accident, a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims, would be able to offer essential advice on whether you could sue your employer.
Would I Still be Entitled to File an Accident at Work Claim?
Just because an accident at work has not been recorded or reported to the necessary authorities, does not mean you would not be entitled to file a claim against a negligent employer. In fact, should an employer have failed to report a workplace accident to RIDDOR or other authorities, they would be in breach of a legal duty not only to keep you and all other employees safe from harm and injury but also of failing to report and record workplace accidents which in certain instances is a legal requirement. In short, it could strengthen your accident at work claim against an employer more especially if they are fined by an enforcing authority which could be as much as £20,000.
If you feel that your employer failed to report an accident at work that left you with injuries to the relevant authorities, you should seek legal advice. A solicitor who specialises in work-related accident claims would assess your case against your employer before advising you on how best to proceed.
Would an Accident at Work Solicitor Take My Case on a No Win No Fee Basis?
Once a solicitor has assessed an accident at work claim that has not be correctly reported to the necessary authorities or recorded as it should be by law, which a solicitor would typically do during a no obligation, initial free consultation, they would then offer legal advice on whether you have a case against a negligent employer. If the solicitor believes you have a strong claim, they would offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. In short, you would not have to find the funds to pay the solicitor a retainer or upfront fee for them to commence work on your accident at work claim.
In order for a No Win No Fee solicitor to start working on your case, you would be asked to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The agreement sets out the “success fee” which is the percentage you agree to pay the solicitor but only if your accident at work claim is successful. The contract also sets out the Terms and Conditions of the agreement. Should your claim not be successful and you are not awarded accident at work compensation, you would not have to pay for the legal representation the solicitor provided.