If you were involved in a workplace incident that resulted in you falling from a height and injuring yourself, it can be an extremely frightening experience. You could suffer life-changing injuries leaving you marked psychologically when you fall from a height at work whether you sustain fractures, you damage your back or suffer head injuries. To find out whether you may be entitled to claim compensation for a fall from height injury, please read on.
Who Is Most at Risk of Suffering a Fall From Height Injury at Work?
Working in some industries puts you more at risk of suffering a fall from height injury than others. These high-risk professions are listed below:
- Construction workers
- Window cleaners and installers
- Warehouse workers
- Shelf stackers in supermarkets
- Civil engineers
Although working in any of the industries listed above would put you more at risk of falling from a height at work and injuring yourself, they are just some of the working environments that are considered “high-risk” but it is worth noting that you could be involved in a fall from height in other working environments too.
What Are the Most Common Causes of a Fall From Height at Work?
There are many ways that you could injure yourself in a fall from height at work, but the most commonly reported incidents include the following:
- Incorrectly constructed scaffolding
- No safety rails on ledges or scaffolding
- A fall from a broken or unstable ladder
- No anti-slip mats on higher platforms or surfaces
- No safety rails/barriers around an open drain/hole
With this said, roofers who are carrying out work or repairs in bad weather conditions are also at greater risk of suffering a fall from a height and injuring themselves. If you were injured in a fall from height at work, you could be entitled to seek compensation from an employer, providing your claim meets specific criteria which includes filing a claim before the statutory time limit runs out.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in Preventing a Fall From Height at Work?
Your employer has a duty to carry out frequent and regular risk assessments in the workplace and to set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the possibility of accidents occurring which incorporates falls from a height. There is also a specific law that covers working at height which is as follows:
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005
This law requires that apart from carrying out regular risk assessments in the workplace, your employer does the following to reduce the risk of an accident at work which could involve a fall from height from happening:
- That all working surfaces are kept dry, free from obstacles and that they are stable
- That all equipment, tools and machinery is kept in good working order to reduce the risk of any malfunctions occurring while employees are working at height
- That employees who work at height are given adequate training to carry out their work safely
- That employees are given the correct personal protective equipment and that it is good condition
Should your employer fail to keep you safe from falling from a height and injuring yourself, they could be held liable and as such, you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against them.
What Should I Do Following a Fall From Height at Work?
As previously mentioned, a fall from a height at work can be a very traumatic experience and even if you believe you have not suffered any substantial obvious injuries, you may have damaged internal organs when you fell. The problem is that when you are involved in this type of incident whether in the workplace or elsewhere, your adrenaline kicks in which could mean you are not aware of just how seriously you have been injured in the fall. First and foremost, following a fall from height at work, you should seek medical attention as a matter of urgency so that you can be examined without any undue delay.
Other steps that must be taken following a fall from height at work are listed below:
- Make sure that an official record of the incident has been noted in the work’s accident report book. If you find there isn’t one, you should write a letter or send a personal email detailing the workplace accident and the injuries you sustained. Should you not be able to do this due to the extent of your injuries, ask a trusted work colleague to do this on your behalf. Once you are able, you can check the report and you have the right to correct any information that you feel is incorrect
- Take photos of where the workplace accident occurred and if possible, ask for any CCTV footage if available to which your employer must respond and provide in a timely manner
- Take photos of the injuries you sustained in the fall from height at work preferably before you have been treated
- Get witness statements and their contact details which would be required when making a fall from height at work claim
- Get a detailed medical report of your injuries which should include all diagnostic tests like X-rays which would be required to establish the extent of your injuries and would be used as a basis for the general damages you may be awarded in a successful claim
The more evidence you can provide to prove that you sustained your injuries in a fall from height at work, the stronger your case would and the more chance you would have of being awarded the level of compensation you deserve.
Would My Fall From a Height Injury Claim be Valid?
For a fall from height claim to be valid, you would need to provide evidence that the incident that left you injured was caused either through employer negligence because they failed in their duty to keep you safe or that a work colleague made an error of judgement which resulted in you falling from a height and injuring yourself.
However, if you think you may be partly liable for the workplace accident, you should still contact a personal injury solicitor who would determine the extent of your responsibility by investigating your claim. It could be that your employer was also partly responsible which is referred to in law as “vicarious liability”. Once this has been established, you would be awarded less in the way of compensation because your level of liability would be factored into the amount you are awarded.
An accident at work lawyer would investigate the circumstances that led up to you suffering a fall from height at work in the following way:
- Whether the workplace was safe
- That you were given adequate training
- That your employer had set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of employees falling from a height and injuring themselves
- That your employer had carried out regular risk assessments of the working environment
- That the machinery, equipment or tools you were using were in good working order
- That you were given the correct personal protective equipment to carry out your job safely
- That the workplace accident occurred in the last 3 years
Once an accident at work lawyer is satisfied that your case against an employer is strong and that you are entitled to seek compensation by filing a fall from height claim, they would typically offer to represent you by signing a No Win No Fee agreement. This means the firm of solicitors can begin working on your claim without the need to request an upfront fee for doing so.
What Can Be Included in a Fall From Height at Work Claim Against an Employer?
Accident at work compensation is divided in two parts when it comes to determining how much you may be awarded if the case is upheld whether by a judge or by your employer’s liability insurance providers. The first part is known as “general damages” which are awarded to compensate you for the injuries you sustained in a fall from height at work accident. The second is “special damages” which are awarded for all the out of pocket expenses you paid out as a result of being injured in the workplace through no fault of your own.
A judge or your employer’s liability insurance provider would need to see proof of your expenditure in order to calculate how much you would receive in “special damages”. As such, you would need to provide the following:
- Receipts of all your medical expenses which includes prescriptions
- Receipts of all your travel expenses whether you went by car, taxi, bus or train to receive medical treatment for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- Receipts for all other costs and expenses you incurred which would include any money that you had to pay out for adaptations to your home and care costs
Once a No Win No Fee solicitor has all of the above in hand, they can then negotiate a fair and acceptable level of fall from height at work compensation for you which would include general damages and special damages.
Is It Right to Sue an Employer for a Fall From Height Injury?
As previously mentioned, a fall from height at work accident can be an extremely traumatic experience that could not only leave you physically injured, but psychologically damaged too. As such, you have the right to seek compensation from your employer providing you can show they failed to keep you safe from injury and harm while you were in their employment.
By law, your employer must carry sufficient liability insurance which covers all workplace accidents that leave employees, other workers who are under their control and visitors injured. The legally required insurance cover is set at £5 million and the policy must be issued by a recognised company.
When an employee seeks compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace, it is the employer’s insurance provider who settles the amount that is awarded in a successful fall from height claim. It is worth noting that the majority of personal injury claims never get to court with 95% of cases being settled beforehand by insurance providers.
Is There a Time Limit to Making a Fall From Height Claim Against a Negligent Employer?
The statutory time limit for filing a fall from height at work claim against a negligent employer is 3 years. However, should you have been injured in the workplace prior to your 18th birthday, the 3 year time limit begins from the day you turn 18.
Should you be diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition that is directly linked to the injuries you sustained when falling from a height while you were at work, the statutory 3 year time limit begins from the day you were officially diagnosed by a medical professional.
Although 3 years seems like a long time to file a fall from height claim against your employer, it takes a lot of effort to collect all the evidence that is needed to prove a case. Gathering medical reports and other information is time consuming and as such, it is far better to start a claim sooner rather than later to avoid running out of time.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Fall From Height Claim Against Them?
Worker’s rights if injured in an accident at work are protected in the United Kingdom. As such, your employer cannot use the fact that you seek compensation from them as an excuse for firing you. There must be another good and valid reason other than the fact you are seeking compensation for you to be sacked from your job.
Should an employer attempt to fire you or to treat you unfairly in any way, you should contact an accident at work solicitor who would offer essential advice on whether you could take further legal action out against your employer. This includes filing a detriment claim and an unfair dismissal claim for which there is a strict 3 month time limit.
Do I Have Rights If I Am Injured in a Fall From Height at Work?
As previously mentioned, your worker’s rights are protected in the workplace and this includes when you are injured in a fall from height. You have the right to do and be entitled to the following:
- To file an accident at work claim against a negligent employer
- To receive a level of compensation to suit the workplace injuries you sustained
If your employer objects to you filing a fall from height claim against them or they deny liability, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible from a lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims. The lawyer would begin investigating your case once they are satisfied that your employer could be deemed liable for the fall from height at work injuries you sustained.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive For a Fall From Height at Work Injury?
The level of fall from height at work compensation you may be awarded if your case is successful, would depend on the extent of the injuries you sustained and how your overall life, well-being and ability to work has been affected. Should your injuries be such that they prevent you from working again, you would be awarded more in the way of compensation than if you were able to return to work when you are fully recovered from the injuries you sustained.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Fall From Height at Work Claim?
Working with a solicitor on a fall from height at work claim provides many benefits and advantages, one of which is that you would be access to specialist treatment and therapy should your injuries be such that you would need ongoing medical care. With this said, other advantages of having legal representation in a fall from height claim against an employer who could be held liable for your injuries due to their negligence in the workplace, includes the following:
- Lawyers can access legal libraries which they can reference when needed during your fall from height claim
- Once a solicitor has established you have a strong case against a negligent employer, they would agree to work on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis which takes all the pressure of finding the money to pay for legal representation when you need it off the table, leaving to place all your focus on recovering from the workplace injuries you sustained
- They have vast experience in handling accident at work claims for employees who sustained injuries in the workplace
- They can communicate directly on your behalf with your employer and their liability insurance providers
- An accident at work lawyer would investigate your employer’s claim that they are not responsible for the injuries you sustained at work and would work hard to get them to admit responsibility should this be the case
- A solicitor would file court proceedings against your employer should they insist they are not liable for the workplace accident that left you injured
- A solicitor understands the need to follow pre-action protocols and that the 3 year statutory time limit must be respected for a fall from height claim to be successful
- A solicitor would negotiate interim payments should your case be complex which could mean that reaching a final settlement could take longer than usual
- The solicitor would ensure that the fall from height compensation you are awarded is fair whether this is reached through the courts or in an “out of court” settlement because 95% of personal injury claims are settled before they go before a judge
- A solicitor would ensure you receive the right medical treatment for the fall from a height at work injuries you sustained which includes any aftercare and ongoing therapy that may be required
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Fall From a Height at Work Claim?
Once a firm of solicitors has determined that you have a strong fall from height at work claim against an employer who could be held liable for the injuries that you sustained, they would offer to work on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you would not have to find the funds to pay them for doing so and there would be no ongoing fees to pay the lawyer as your fall from height claim against an employer progresses either.
Conditional Fee Agreements were set in place to help people seek compensation from a third party should they have suffered an injury. This includes employees who are injured or harmed while they are in the workplace. Once you sign a CFA with a lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims, it allows them to begin working on your case by investigating the circumstances that led to you falling from a height at work and being injured. No Win No Fee agreements are legally binding contracts between a solicitor and the person who is filing an accident at work claim against a third party.
The agreement lays out the Terms and Conditions of the contract and the percentage that would only be payable to the solicitor when you win your case and awarded fall from height compensation for the injuries you sustained. This is referred to in the agreement as a “success fee” which is then deducted by the solicitor from the amount you are awarded. Should you lose your claim against an employer, there would be nothing to pay the solicitor who represented you because they entered into the No Win No Fee agreement with you.
If you would like to find out more information on your worker’s rights if you have been involved in a workplace accident, the following link provides essential reading:
To find out more about working from height regulations, please follow the link below: