If you were involved in a workplace accident that left you injured or you developed a work-related medical condition, under UK law you are entitled to claim compensation from an employer providing your case meets specific criteria. To find out what sort of damages and losses can be included in an accident at work claim, please read on.
What UK Law Entitles You to Claim For in an Accident at Work Claim
Having been injured in an accident at work or because you developed a medical condition that can be linked to the work you do, the law in the UK entitles you to claim financial compensation for the pain, suffering, loss of amenity and out of pocket expenses you had to deal with. You are entitled to claim for the following:
- All financial losses directly associated with the workplace injuries sustained or medical condition you developed which includes future losses too
- Any loss of wages due to having time off work to recover from the injuries you sustained
- The expenses you had to pay out for treatments and therapies
- All other costs and expenses that can be linked to the injuries you suffered while at work
Personal injury compensation comprises of two separate elements which are as follows:
- These are awarded for the “pain, suffering and any loss of amenity”. In short, the general damages you could be awarded should your accident at work claim be successful would be based on the extent and seriousness of the injuries you sustained and how your symptoms may negatively impact your future life
When it comes to pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA), the pain and suffering part of the amount you may be awarded would be for the past, present and future psychiatric and physical symptoms you may experience as a result of having been injured in an accident at work.
The loss of amenity element that is included in general damages are awarded in personal injury claims to compensate you for any “loss of enjoyment of life” or how your ability to do everyday chores and tasks is negatively impacted by the injuries you suffered.
When trying to work out how much personal injury compensation you may be awarded in general damages, there are guidelines published by the Judicial College which set out the amounts injured parties may be awarded in successful personal injury claims.
It is worth noting that when assessing pain, suffering and loss of amenity, the fact you may suffer from a pre-existing medical condition/disability would be taken into consideration and the same is true if the workplace injury you sustained accelerated your pre-existing health issue.
Another point that would be taken into consideration would be your sex and age which could also affect the amount on the general damages you may be awarded in a successful accident at work claim against a negligent employer.
Loss of Amenity Examples:
- An employee who works in a factory has lost part or all of their hearing due to the fact they were not provided with adequate personal protective equipment in the form of ear protection. The result is that the worker cannot listen to music, watch television – the employee would be compensated for this loss of amenity
- A taxi driver suffers a catastrophic injury to a leg and can no longer play football – the driver would be compensation for this loss of amenity
The way loss of amenity is calculated can be challenging as it is hard to place a financial value on anything that is not “tangible”. As such, you would need to provide evidence that the quality of your life was diminished by the fact you suffered an injury in the workplace which can be achieved by producing testimony from friends, family and other people. Photos and video evidence is also invaluable when it comes to assessing how much you may be awarded for the loss of amenity you have to endure.
- These are easier to work out because they are calculated on “actual” expenses and costs you incurred due to having been injured in the workplace. Special damages would include loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, the cost of a carer should this be necessary, the cost of medical treatment which includes prescriptions, physiotherapy and other therapies you may need, the cost of modifying your home should this be necessary due to the injuries you sustained, travel costs whether you go by car, taxi, bus, train or other means
- Special damages also include all other costs and expenses that are incurred due to having been injured in the workplace and this includes electricity bills and heating bills being higher because you had to remain at home during your recovery.
- Should you need the assistance of a full time carer the cost can be claimed in an accident at work claim and would be part of the special damages you may be awarded. If your injuries are substantial and you are no longer able to live in your home, you can claim the cost of having to go into a care home
When calculating the special damages you could be awarded in a successful claim, the largest portion of the compensation you receive is typically your loss of earnings. Should you not have been able to work for a period of time, you may have only received Statutory Sick Pay and not be able to bring home your normal weekly or monthly salary.
Your employer may pay you a basic wage while you are off work recovering from the workplace injuries you sustained, but you could lose out on perks, overtime and any other allowances you may have been entitled to had you not been injured in the workplace. As such, you can include these losses in your accident at work claim and they would be included in the special damages you are awarded.
Having to attend medical appointments for much needed treatment can also add to your financial losses whether you have to go to a hospital, physiotherapist or specialist. As such, the travel expenses you incur would be compensated in the special damages you are awarded. It is also worth noting that should you require any medical aids and equipment you would be reimbursed the cost of the items in the special damages you receive.
Should any of your property which includes things like clothing, glasses and other items be damaged or ruined in the workplace accident, you can include the cost of replacing these in your accident at work claim and the amount would be included in the special damages you are awarded.
If your injuries are severe and you require ongoing medical assistance, you can claim care costs and this includes when you are helped and cared for by family members or friends who you do not pay.
An accident at work lawyer would provide you with essential advice on what you may be able to claim in special damages bearing in mind that you must provide all the receipts as proof of your expenditures which can be directly linked to the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work That Was Not My Fault?
If you are involved in a workplace accident and you are injured whether the injuries you sustain are minor or catastrophic, you have the right to seek compensation from your employer providing your claim meets specific criteria. This is that the incident occurred in the last 3 years and it was caused by a third party. However, if you were partly responsible, your employer could be deemed partly liable for the injuries you sustained too. Your rights are as follows if you are injured in the workplace:
- You have the right to seek compensation
- You can file an accident at work claim against your employer without the worry of being sacked from your job
Your employer would be acting unlawfully if they sacked you, threatened to make you redundant or tried in any way to prevent you from seeking compensation after you were injured in an accident in the workplace. If this should be the case, you should contact a lawyer who would provide essential legal advice on whether and how to take out further legal action against your employer.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Employers must abide by all legislation, regulations and laws that are set in place to protect employees and people in the workplace. Failing to adhere to Health and Safety regulations that result in accidents at work that leave you injured, would mean that an employer could be held liable. As such their insurance providers would pay the personal injury compensation that is awarded.
An employer’s responsibilities in the workplace include the following:
- To provide adequate working procedures and practices to all employees
- To ensure that all employees and other workers are given adequate and ongoing training so they can carry out their jobs safely
- To provide the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees and other workers. The PPE must be correctly stored and replaced with new when necessary
- To ensure that regular risk assessments are carried out in the workplace so that hazards and dangers can be identified. Once identified, reasonable measures should be set in place to reduce the risk of employees and other workers from being injured while carrying out their jobs
- To make sure that all machinery, equipment and tools are in good working order
Should an employer fail to keep you safe from harm or injury while you are in their employment and you are involved in a workplace accident that results in you being injured through no fault of your own, your employer could be deemed liable. As such, you would have the right to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against them.
Should I File an Accident at Work Claim Against My Employer
All employee’s rights are highly protected in the UK and this includes when injured in the workplace or if they develop a work-related health condition. Your injuries may be minor or they could be a lot more severe which could mean you are no longer to carry out the job you used to do.
Even if you suffered minor injuries in a workplace accident, you may not be able to work for several weeks during your recovery. This can put you and your loved ones under financial pressure because you would not be able to bring in your normal weekly or monthly wage.
Filing an accident at work claim against an employer can make life a lot easier when it comes to finances and it allows you to place your full focus on recovering from the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own while you were at work. If you think you may be partly responsible for your injuries, you should still discuss your case with an accident at work lawyer because your employer could be deemed partly responsible for any injury you sustained.
Under UK law, all employers must hold liability insurance and the policy must be issued by a recognised provider for it to be valid. The cover must also meet the legal requirement which currently stands at £5 million. When you file an accident at work claim against an employer for injuries sustained when you are in their employment, it is the insurer who deals with your case whether your employer argues they are not responsible or they accept liability. As such, it is the liability insurance provider who pays out your accident at work compensation and not your employer.
Are There Benefits to Having a Solicitor Represent Me on an Accident at Work Claim?
One of the many advantages of having an expert solicitor represent you when you file an accident at work claim against a negligent employer, is that they would work very hard to ensure that you are awarded the right level of compensation both in general damages and special damages. Other benefits of working with an accident at work lawyer include the following:
- A solicitor would first assess your claim in an initial consultation which is typically free of charge and you are under no obligation to continue with a claim should you not wish to proceed
- A solicitor would arrange for you to be examined by an independent consultant/specialist who would provide a detailed medical report on the workplace injuries you sustained. This report would be used as a basis for the amount of general damages you would be awarded in a successful accident at work claim
- A solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims would work with you on a No Win No Fee basis which means you would not pay any upfront fee or ongoing fees either
- Lawyers can access legal libraries when needed which they can then base your claim on
- A solicitor would respect pre-action protocols and would make sure the 3 year time limit that is associated with personal injury claims is respected too
- A solicitor would investigate an employer’s claims that they are not liable for the injuries you sustained and would work hard to get them to admit responsibility
- A solicitor would also ensure that you receive interim payments should your claim take a longer time to reach a final settlement
- A solicitor would ensure that the level of accident at work compensation you receive is acceptable
- A solicitor would also arrange for you to receive ongoing treatment should this be necessary
Is There a Time Limit Connected to Accident at Work Claims?
Accident at work claims like personal injury claims are governed by a strict 3 year time limit. However, there are exceptions as to when the time limit starts which is detailed below:
- 3 years from the date you were injured in an accident at work
- 3 years from your 18th birthday should the workplace accident have occurred when you were under the age of 18
- 3 years from the day you were diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition that can be linked to injuries you sustained in a workplace accident
Can My Employer Fire Me For Seeking Damages and Losses in an Accident at Work Claim?
Worker’s rights are protected and as such, if you choose to file for damages and losses by making an accident at work claim against your employer, they cannot sack you for doing so because your employer would be acting unlawfully if they did. You cannot be treated unfairly or detrimentally either and if you are, you should legal advice from a solicitor because you could be entitled to seek further compensation from your employer.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
No Win No Fee agreements were set in place to help workers and other people who suffer injuries or harm through no fault of their own, the opportunity of seeking compensation from a negligent third party. A solicitor would first need to assess your accident at work claim to establish that your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained. Once this has been determined, the lawyer would agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis and would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) with you.
The CFA or No Win No Fee agreement as the legal contract is often referred to, sets out all the terms and conditions of the agreement which includes the amount you would have to pay the solicitor but only if your case is upheld. The percentage you agreed to pay in the CFA, would be deducted from the accident at work compensation you are awarded.
Should your case be unsuccessful and you are not awarded any compensation for the injuries you sustained, you would not have to pay the solicitor for the legal representation they provided. In short, you only pay the lawyer if your accident at work claim is successful and you are awarded the damages and losses you sought from your employer.
If you would like more information on claiming compensation for an injury you sustained in the workplace, please follow the link below:
To find out more information about Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), the link below provides essential reading on No Win No Fee agreements: