Even though the vast majority of employers take issues of health and safety management seriously, and do all they can to provide a safe and secure environment for their staff, accidents at work will always happen. For anyone injured at work, not only are they faced with the pain and discomfort of their injuries, they’ll also be torn between their responsibilities to their employer and to themselves.
It’s hard to know where to turn and how to approach things in the right way so that all parties are happy to get a claim resolved. Therefore, to query what rights you have after an accident at work is a sensible thing to do. Knowing where you and your employer stand legally will help you and them to see everything more clearly and avoid misunderstandings.
Skip to section
- Employer pressure
- Know your legal rights
- How to make a successful claim
- It’s your decision
- Find out more
- Questions & answers
Employer pressure – threats are against the law
A very common worry for people is how making a claim will affect their job. This fear can be played upon, and we understand that you may be placed under pressure by your employer NOT to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.
Employers that are liable on grounds of negligence for accidents at work and injuries sustained in the workplace have no right whatsoever to prevent an employee from pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation. Indeed, threats, whether they are blatant or coercive that imply redundancy or the sack will follow if a claim is made are illegal, and any employer making such threats could face legal action on that as well as a claim.
Know your legal rights and responsibilities
If you have been injured in an accident at work, it is important for you to understand your rights so that you can confidently manage your recovery and working future. We can help you to understand your legal position and what to do after an accident at work. We can help you to understand the claims process, how things like the costs of making a claim on a no win no fee basis are met and answer common questions about issues like whether claiming compensation after an accident at work can impact on your employer or colleagues. Below is a basic plan of action you should try to follow if you have been injured at work:
- You should record the details of your accident within your employer’s accident book. Make sure you state the details and that you do not sign any record that does not match your version of the events. If you haven’t done this already, don’t worry, we can help you to do so.
- Seek medical treatment. Most workplaces will have a designated first aid officer. You should see this person but also make sure that you either visit your GP or local A&E department. If an employer attempts to prevent you from seeking medical attention, they are in breach of the law and acting completely improperly.
- Take time to recover. As any doctor will inform you, most injuries require some rest. Therefore, taking time away from the workplace to aid your recovery will not only benefit you by reducing the length of time that you are injured, but also benefit your employer by enabling you to return to full duties at the earliest opportunity. If your employer is pressuring you to return to work, with threats of redundancy if you do not, you should seek legal advice regarding this issue. An unfit employee is a dangerous employee and not only will you be risking your own health by rushing back to work, but you could also be risking the health of your colleagues.
- Seek light duties. If your usual work involves aspects of hard physical labour such as heavy lifting, carrying, climbing or standing for long periods, your employer is duty bound to accommodate you (where possible) in returning to work on lighter duties whilst you complete your recovery. It could be that you usually work in a heavy lifting capacity but that your injuries will prevent you from doing that for sometime. Therefore, if your employer can accommodate you within an office for a few weeks on lighter duties, you can return to work and continue to earn your usual salary.
- Sickness payments. Not all employees will receive full pay if on sickness leave from work. This depends on the contract you have with your employer. However, all employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they do not get full sickness pay. Although SSP is far from a living wage, it could be enough to help you get by. Make sure that your employer has registered you for SSP. If you are unsure, you should contact your local benefits office.
- Attend ongoing medical appointments. If you are back at work but still receiving outpatient treatments for your injuries, such as physiotherapy or check-ups with a consultant, your employer MUST release you to attend the same.
- Pursue a claim for personal injury compensation – we can tell you pretty quickly if you have a case or not, just fill out the claims enquiry form on this page. It is your right to receive compensation for the pain and discomfort caused to you by the injuries you have sustained and also to recover the losses (such as lost income) should you be out of pocket. Your employer cannot sack you for doing so or even make your working life ‘hell’ upon your return. If you find that an employer makes your life difficult after you pursue a claim, you could have grounds for legal action against them, possibly even constructive dismissal. In such circumstances, you should seek advice from a solicitor or your local citizens advice bureau.
How to make a successful claim for compensation
Just because you have been injured whilst at work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation. In most cases, it is relatively easy for us to evaluate the likely outcome of a claim so we advise you to contact us to discuss the details of your accident. Most importantly, we know what questions to ask to work out whether it is likely that you would be able to prove that your employer was liable for your accident and therefore responsible for compensating you for your injuries and any other losses that you may incur.
The most important thing to do after an accident at work, once you’ve received medical attention, is to find out where you stand legally. We can help to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly and by the right people. The sooner you start your claim, the sooner we can help you make sure that there will be no chance for your employer to evade responsibility for the situation in which you find yourself.
All accidents and causes of injury should be reviewed on an individual basis. No two accidents are the same and with this in mind, it is vital that you seek proper advice so that you know whether or not you have a viable claim for accident at work compensation. However, there are some basic pointers that can help you identify where you stand regarding the strength of a claim or otherwise.
- Did your employer ever give you any training? (this could relate to manual handling training, specific training to use certain machinery or other job relevant training). If the answer is no, your employer has breached health and safety guidance already.
- Were you given an induction to the workplace? This would include guidance on accident management protocols, safety exits, hazard avoidance etc.
- Were you provided with, or advised what personal safety and protective equipment you should have to complete your job safely? If the answer is no, your employer could be liable for your injury.
- Did your employer adequately maintain equipment and service machines? Did they ensure that safety guards and mechanisms worked?
- Were you advised how to report accidents and how to access the accident book?
- Did the employer ensure correct staffing levels and an adequate amount of first aid trained staff?
- Did your employer act upon reports of potential risks of danger to employees?
The above is just a guide and there could be many more ways in which an employer would be liable.
It’s your decision
Clearly, the decision as to whether or not an employee should pursue a claim rests with the injured employee. If the injuries are minor, will cause no long-term problems, and the employee can still work and therefore not lose wages after an accident at work, they may well decide that they do not wish to pursue a claim for compensation.
However, where the injuries are more serious and an inability to work follows, making a claim for compensation really is the only option, and a right, for most people. Whilst there is no quick fix to covering the issue of lost income, a successful personal injury claim will see a claimant recover a settlement for their injuries, ongoing treatment and also for their special damages which covers losses such as missed salaries.
Every claimant needs to be sure that they wish to pursue the claim. It is pointless from the aspect of the claimant, solicitor and ourselves for anyone to start a claim if they are not certain that they will see it through.
Find out more
Contact us for confidential, friendly advice and we can give you an idea of where you stand, and whether or not you have a case for claiming compensation from your employer. There’s also plenty of other advice on our website with regards to making a claim if you’ve had an accident at work. You can also leave a question below which we’ll answer as quickly as possible.