There are many laws and regulations in place to protect employees in the UK from harm and injury in the workplace but no matter how responsible an employer might be towards you, there is always a risk of being involved in an accident at work that leaves you injured. There are specific jobs that present more hazards and dangers to workers, but office staff and shop assistants are also at risk of suffering a workplace injury. If you were injured at work and would like to know whether filing an accident at work claim is worth it, please read on.
Is It Worth Filing an Accident at Work Claim Against an Employer?
Whether you are a full-time employee, work part-time, are a temp, a self-employed contractor or just visiting a workplace and you suffer an injury through the negligence of a third party, you could be entitled to seek compensation. You may be in two minds as to bring a claim against your employer because of any consequences such a legal action might have on your future relationship with your boss. However, holding an employer to account if you believe they were negligent in their duty to keep you safe while in their employment, is a perfectly acceptable route to take.
Suffering an injury in an accident at work can leave you unable to work whether this is for a short period of time or much longer. Not being able to bring a wage can put you and your loved ones under financial pressure. Not being able to pay monthly bills and everyday living costs can lead to all sorts of problems. As such, seeking compensation for the injuries you sustained can help you through what is often a stressful and anxious time.
The Most Commonly Reported Accident at Work Claims
You could be involved in many different workplace incidents that leave you injured whether your injuries are minor or a lot more severe. With this said, there are specific workplace accidents that are more commonplace than others. These are listed below:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Manual handling incidents
- Colliding with machinery, equipment and moving vehicles with an example being forklift trucks
- Items and products falling from a height because they are badly stacked
As previously mentioned, there are several professions where you are put more at risk of being injured which includes the following:
- Working in a warehouse
- Working in the building trade
- Working in the Construction trade
- Working in the healthcare sector
- Working in the nursing sector
Your Employer’s Duty of Care Towards You
An employer has a duty of care towards you and must adhere to Health and Safety Executive regulations and other government laws that are set in place to protect all employees. As such, your employer’s responsibility towards you in the workplace are as follows:
- To ensure that accidents and near misses are recorded in an Accident Report Book or other official method that must be readily accessible to all employees
- To ensure that all “reportable” incidents are reported to RIDDOR
- To ensure that the workplace and areas off-site are as safe as reasonably possible
- To provide adequate training on an ongoing basis to all members of staff whether existing employees or new workers
- To ensure that all tools, equipment and machinery is properly maintained and regularly serviced to a manufacturer’s recommendations
- To provide personal protective equipment when needed
- To install safety guard rails on machinery and equipment that is deemed hazardous
- To provide adequate and detailed working procedures to all members of staff
- To provide adequate training to employees who use machinery and other equipment in the workplace
- To frequently review all working practices and to identify potential hazards
If you are injured in the workplace because your employer failed in any other the above, you have the right to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against your employer without fear of any sort of retribution.
Would I Be Paid During My Recovery After an Accident at Work?
Your employer is not legally obliged to pay you if you are injured in an accident at work and you are unable to work during your recovery. However, you would be entitled to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) although this is only typically a percentage of your full weekly salary. As such, you could be put under a lot of financial pressure at a time when your focus should be on making a full recovery from the injuries you sustained in the workplace.
With this said, some employers choose to pay their employees more in the way of sick pay which is written into their employment contracts and if this is the case, you would receive this amount of money on top of the SSP you would be entitled to receive during the time it takes to recovery from your workplace injuries. It is worth noting that even if you choose to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against your employer, you would still be entitled to receive any sick pay that is written into your employment contract together with your statutory sick pay you would be entitled to receive.
How Do I Prove My Employer Negligence Caused My Accident at Work?
Some accident at work claims are straight forward and proving that an employer was negligent in their duty to keep an employee safe from harm, is a simple process. If this is the case with your claim, you could find that your employer’s insurance providers choose to offer an “out of court” settlement which would cover your general damages and special damages.
- General damages cover any pain and suffering you had to go through as well as any change in your lifestyle due to the injury you sustained at work
- Special damages are calculated on the expenses and other costs you had to pay out as a result of the injuries you suffered in an accident at work which also incorporates your lost wages and any future earnings should your injuries be such that they stop you doing the job you used to do before you were in an accident at work
Your employer may admit they are partly responsible for the injuries you sustained in which case this would be referred to as being a “split liability”. As such, because your employer is partly responsible for the accident and you are partly responsible for the injuries you sustained, this would be referred to as “contributory negligence”. If this should be the case, a court would then rule that as the claimant, you would be held partly responsible for the injuries you sustained and as such, the amount you would receive in the way of compensation would be reduced accordingly.
Should your employer choose to dispute your accident at work claim, the legal process becomes a lot more complicated which is when working with a lawyer who specialises in this type of work-related claim makes all the difference as to whether your case would be upheld.
It is Against the Law For An Employer to Intimidate You Following an Accident at Work
The majority of employers follow Health and Safety Executive regulations and other laws pertaining to employee safety in the workplace. As such, when a workplace accident occurs and you are injured, an employer would do their best to ensure that you are rightly compensated. However, some employers do not play by “the book” and object to you seeking compensation from them. Should this be the case, your employer would be in breach of the laws that govern workplace accidents and your right to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own.
It is against the law for an employer to “intimidate” of to “threaten” you and if they do, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in employment law before doing anything else. The reason being that you would be entitled to take further legal action out against your employer. If you are at all concerned that you are being treated unfairly following an accident at work that left you injured and you doubt whether you should claim compensation, the best course of action to take is to seek legal advice rather than resign from your job or not hold your employer to account.
Knowing Your Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work
It is important that you are aware of your rights following an accident at work that leaves you injured or suffering from a work-related medical condition. Your worker’s rights include the following:
- To file an accident at work claim to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained in the workplace
- That your position within a business/company is safe if you seek compensation
If your employer attempts to make your working life more difficult because you seek compensation from them, you should discuss your concerns with a solicitor before doing anything else.
What is the Time Limit to Filing an Accident at Work Claim?
There is a very strict time limit when it comes to making an accident at work claim which if missed, can mean you would not be able to seek compensation even if you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained while at work. The time limit is detailed below:
- 3 years from the date you suffered a workplace injury
- 3 years from being diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition directly linked to the job you do
- 3 years from your 18th birthday if you were injured or developed a work-related health issue before you were 18 years old
Can I File a Complaint With My Accident at Work Claim?
If you think that a workplace is hazardous, the best course of action to take is to discuss your concerns directly with your employer and to do so formally. Should your employer fail to set in place measures to reasonably reduce the risk of harm and injury to you and other employers which results in you being injured in the workplace as a consequence of their inaction, you should contact an accident at work solicitor who would typically be willing to take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
My Contract is Zero Hours, Can I File an Accident at Work Claim?
If you are working on a zero hours’ contract and you are injured in an accident at work, you can file for compensation. The reason being that you are still entitled to receive adequate training to do the job and be provided with the correct tools and support needed to carry out your work safely. An employer has a legal obligation to keep you safe from injury and harm in the workplace and if they fail to do so and you suffer any sort of injury, you are entitled to file an accident at work claim against the employer.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on an Accident at Work Claim?
If you are worried about filing for compensation against your employer, there are many reasons that could prompt you to do so. Suffering any sort of workplace injury or developing a work-related medical condition through no fault of your own, can put you in financial jeopardy. This could lead to you suffering from depression as well as having to cope with the damage you sustained. All employers in the UK are duty bound to keep you safe when you are in their employment and they are legally obliged to hold liability insurance which provides a minimum cover of £5 million.
As such, when you file an accident at work claim against your employer, the insurance policy they have in place, covers this eventuality. Your claim would be handled by the insurance provider and it is the insurer who would pay out the compensation you receive on a successful accident at work claim.
For an accident at work claim to be successful, it is best to seek legal representation from a solicitor who boasts vast experience in this field. Other advantages of working with a lawyer on an accident at work claim includes the following:
- A solicitor has access to many legal libraries where they can find precedents which can be used as a basis for your claim
- They know how to communicate with insurance providers
- A solicitor can arrange for you to be examined by a consultant/specialist and the report they provide on your injuries/health issue would be vital when it comes to calculating the amount of compensation you may be awarded
- A solicitor can arrange for you to receive aftercare therapy should this be necessary
- They can provide essential advice on the sort of evidence needed to prove employer negligence
- A solicitor would be able to negotiate a “fair” amount of compensation for you should the insurance provider offer an “out of court” settlement, with 95% of personal injury claims being settled before they are heard by a judge
Would I Be Fired For Filing an Accident at Work Claim
If you are worried about losing your position in a company or business and therefore do not want to file an accident at work claim against your employer, the law clearly states that you cannot be fired for seeking compensation for any workplace injuries you sustained through no fault of your own.
Should your employer threaten you in any way which includes stating that you would be sacked for seeking compensation or that you could be made redundant for doing so, your employer would be breaking the law. As such, you should contact a solicitor who specialises in employment law because you may be entitled to take out further legal action against your employer.
Would a Solicitor Represent Me On a No Win No Fee Basis?
Should you be worried that you cannot afford to seek legal representation from a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims, it is worth remembering that if you have a strong case against your employer, a lawyer would agree to take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. A solicitor would assess your case either by telephone or in a face to face meeting for which there would be no charge and once satisfied that your claim is valid, they would sign a No Win No Fee agreement with you. This allows the solicitor to begin work on your case without the need of requesting an upfront payment to do so.
No Win No Fee agreements are also referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements because they only time you pay for the legal representation you receive is when you are awarded the compensation you seek. The agreed percentage you would pay is known as a “success fee” and it is deducted from the amount you receive. Should you lose your claim, the fee is not payable because the lawyer who represented you entered into a No Win No Fee agreement with you.