Does any accident at work let you claim personal injury compensation?

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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. To make a successful claim the injured employee must be able to demonstrate that the employer was liable and exposed the staff to risk of injury rather than it being their own fault. It’s not always easy to know where you stand so here we look at common themes among valid work accident claims.

Table of contents

Have you got a valid work accident claim?

All work accident claims and causes of injury should be reviewed on an individual basis. However, there are some basic pointers that can help you identify where you stand regarding the strength of a claim or otherwise. They key is to 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Were you given an induction to the workplace?

    This would include guidance on accident management protocols, safety exits, hazard avoidance etc.

  3. Did you have the correct protective equipment?

    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.

  4. Were tools and equipment fit for purpose?

    Did your employer adequately maintain equipment and service machines?  Did they ensure that safety guards and mechanisms worked?

  5. Did you know how to report an accident?

    Were you advised how to report accidents and how to access the accident book? The injured party wishing to claim must ensure that the details of their accident and injuries have been correctly reported and recorded.

  6. Were there enough staff to maintain safety?

    Did the employer ensure correct staffing levels and an adequate amount of first aid trained staff?

  7. Were reported risks taken seriously and made safe?

    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.

Taking responsibility – who is at fault?

Employees and employers alike are bound by the rules of the Health & Safety at Work Act. Both parties must ensure that their actions do not put others at risk, with the employers having responsibility for training and equipment management/usage. To answer the question, ‘does any accident work enable a claim for accident at work, personal injury compensation?’ The answer is a definitive no, as not every injury warrants a claim!

As stated, to succeed in claiming accident at work compensation from an employer, the injured party would have to demonstrate that their employer failed to ensure their safety in the workplace, that they breached health & safety protocol and could have avoided the accident if they had done things properly.

For example, let’s take a worker in a factory, using potentially dangerous machinery to do their job. Unfortunately, the employee has had a really nasty accident with the machine and will be off work for quite a while. Is he entitled to make a no win no fee claim for personal injury compensation? Here are two scenarios, the first where the injured party would NOT be entitled to claim and the second, where they would.

Example 1 – when an employee is at fault and can’t claim

A worker works in a factory for a company. The worker was properly trained by their employer to use a dangerous machine safely and the training was regularly repeated. The worker’s use of the machine was also monitored on occasion by a supervisor.

The employer also made sure that the machine was fit for purpose with regular servicing and had all the relevant parts fitted such as a safety guard. The employer gave the employee the correct equipment to do their job safely, provided the employee with all the relevant protective clothing and did not pressurise the employee in to cutting corners by not using their training, work practices and equipment provided.

The staff member then opted to NOT follow the instructions of the employer, or use the safety equipment that had been provided and had a nasty accident and injury from the machine as a result (such as removing the safety guard to enable quicker working and crushing or lacerating their hand/arm). In this case, the injury and accident would entirely be the fault of the employee and not the employer. Therefore, the employee would not be entitled to claim accident at work compensation.

Example 2 – when an employee is not at fault and can claim

A worker working in a similar factory, but for a company that hasn’t provided the employee with any training to use the machine, hasn’t provided relevant safety clothing and equipment and doesn’t service the machine to check it is safe to use. If the employee then gets injured, crushing and lacerating a hand because they were allowed to use a dangerous machine without being given the knowledge of how to do so safely, the employer would be in trouble and fully liable. The claimant would have had a nasty accident at work and be completely entitled to make a claim for compensation.

It comes down to sensible management of potential dangers.

How we can help

Hopefully, you have found this information useful to you when deciding about your claim. It’s also helpful to know your rights after a work injury and what responsibilities your employer has regarding injuries at work.

The most important thing to do, once you’ve received medical attention, is to find out where you stand. In most cases, it is relatively easy for us to evaluate the likely outcome of a claim for workplace accident compensation, so we advise you to contact us and discuss the details of your accident and injury, just leave a question below or call us on 01225 430285, or we can call you back.

We can help to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly and by the right people. We can help you to understand the claims process, how the costs of making a claim on a no win no fee basis are met and whether claiming compensation after an accident at work can impact on your employer or colleagues.

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Comments & Questions

Read on for questions and advice about claiming...

Hiya, I had an accident at work on a wet, dark night whilst on an evening shift as a district nurse. I was the passenger of a drivers car. The driver had been provided due to requiring x 2 staff due to lone working whilst on the evening shift. Whilst travelling to see a patient, we were involved in a head on collision at approximately 30mph. Thankfully I had 4 weeks leave booked from this day which were used for my recovery and I have been on restricted duties all year since. I have had extensive physiotherapy and psychological support provided via occupational health at work. The scene was attended by police, fire and ambulance service and I was spinal boarded to hospital for further scans. The injuries are still persistent and the accident has had a huge impact on my life.

I am aware I will be able to claim for basic personal injuries from the actual car accident. But would I be able to make an accident at work claim ?

Ian Morris

If you have not already pursued a claim for compensation, please call us on 01225430285 so that we can help you to recover compensation for both the physical and emotional injuries you have sustained in the accident.

You have clearly suffered considerable physical injuries as they continue to impact on your day to day work and home life and you have also suffered psychological trauma too. Our specialist Solicitors will ensure that the full extent of your injuries is accounted for in your claim and that any settlement awarded appropriately covers every aspect of the impact that this incident has had on you – both in terms of injuries, but also any losses financially and the potential impact on your future career too.

The claim in this scenario would not be against your employer as you were injured in a car accident. Although you were in the vehicle to undertake your working duties, the employer was not negligent in terms of the cause of the collision. Instead, the claim will be against the insurers of whichever vehicle was the at fault party. From a claimants perspective, whether your claim was of a road traffic accident nature or an accident at work claim, there is no difference to the process or to the potential settlement that could be obtained.


I fell up the cellar steps at work carrying beer bottles. I fell hands first onto the steps and broken glass, cutting open my left palm and left thumb. I went to A & E almost straight away and received 4 stitches to the hand and 3 to the thumb. I had 3 weeks off work in the end and I’m left with no feeling in my thumb, the top of my palm and first finger as well as not being able to move my fingers properly; this means I cannot use my hand very well. However, the doctors have told me that the feeling will come back eventually – whether that be in a couple months time or in a couple years time, they could not tell me.
My employer did not do a risk assessment with me and also I did not receive confirmation that the accident was recorded in the accident book.
Am I eligible to claim?

Ian Morris

We would like to further investigate your situation and make a claim against your employers insurance for the injuries you have sustained and to recovery any loss of income or other incurred costs caused by this accident. The lack of any risk assessment and potential training issues are certainly relevant in this case and could lead to a successful claim for compensation.


Hi Ian,
I am a tower crane engineer and recently whilst 40m up and 30m out on the job whilst Lone working I had my foot crushed by the crane trolley. I had instructed the driver to move the trolley but my foot was unfortunately in the wrong place and got trapped by the trolley, where would I stand on making a claim? With me instructing the driver I’d imagine nowhere?

Ian Morris

There is a possibility that you will be found to have been the negligent party in this matter. However, it could also be the case that the employer or site management provider may bear responsibility (as may the crane operator). If you would like to speak with our Solicitors and seek their view, please call us on 01225430285 and we’ll make some investigations for you.


Hi worked for my employer for 11 years had an accident a few days ago. I was leaving the building closed the door turned & tripped over a plastic pallet that had been left on the floor right next to the door & in a walkway which leads to the car park. I have a fractured elbow (& possibly tendon damage). Doctor wanted to sign me off for 5 weeks I said I didnt want to do that so he agreed to light duties & reduced work (office based computer work). My employer agreed & have arranged for a colleague to drive me to & from work. There is cctv footage. I wasnt going to claim but my line manager has told me after reviewing the cctv footage the mitigating circumstance is that the pallet had been in that position for about a week. I dont remember the pallet being there & to me that is worse several people inc the managers must have walked past it each evening. The accident form was completed in my absence by someone who viewed the cctv & has described the object as a bin – it was a low height pallet. Employers have been accepting of reduced hours (obviously to their benefit nobody else is trained do my job) & helpful with travelling but I feel angry that it hasnt been dealt with well & line manager is not sympathetic to the fact that I live alone can just about shower & dress myself at the moment & that is it!!! Does this sound like it could be a straightforward claim?

Ian Morris

This certainly would appear t be a straightforward claim and is one we would anticipate that our Solicitors would wish to pursue with a likelihood of succeeding.

Any claim would be against the employers insurance and would not directly impact on any of your colleagues or the business. Your employment rights and legal right to pursue a claim for a non-fault injury such as the one you have sustained gives you ample protection and you should have the confidence to make a claim for what is a nasty and painful injury. Whilst you should make a good recovery, the elbow is a complex joint and not withstanding the short term pain and impact on your life, the longer term consequences of such an injury would be accounted for should you make a claim.


I fell through a warehouse roof. To cut a long story short, one employee was on the roof and came down and asked for help, so I helped him to put some man hole covers back in place. However, I fell through the roof and in doing so, I broke a lot of bones and suffered injury. I had not been given any training in roofing and working on the roof. Company Management knew that staff were working on the roof even though they may say not that that was not the case. Am I eligible to claim? I think I am, but would you advise me telling my employer that I plan to make a claim? Also can they fire me if I do make a claim?

Ian Morris

You definitely have a right to make a claim and our initial view is that you should and that any such claim would be valid. We would be happy to help you make your claim. You can call us on 01225430285 to start your claim or you can use our website to get the ball rolling.

Regarding telling the employer, you have nothing to gain by informing them in advance and you do not need to do so. Whilst an employer may ‘take the hump’ if you do make a claim, they cannot legally dismiss you for taking such action. All employers are required to have employer liability insurance cover for such eventualities and any claim would be against their insurance rather than the company itself.


I fell down the stairs at work, everything was as it should be, I missed my step. Am I eligible to claim?

Ian Morris

If there is no fault with the steps and no negligence, you cannot make a claim. In this case, it would appear that the incident was simply a case of an unfortunate accident and caused by your temporary loss of concentration.


I’m a lorry driver and during refuelling my truck due to lack of fuel in the ground tank the fuel pump started spluttering and caused a blow back resulting in fuel in my face and eyes. There was no eye wash available and on entering into the transport office to seek a first aid trained person I was told that there were none so I went to another building owned by my employer and was told there as well that there was no first aid trained people, plus it took 4 first aid kits to fine eye wash for me so this shows that checks are not being completed.
Where do I stand?
By the way had to attend hospital and had eye scans and irrigation but no lasting damage.

Ian Morris

It would appear that you have been extremely fortunate in that no serious damage was done when the fuel made contact with your eyes. Whilst the incident would have been distressing, uncomfortable and stressful, it would seem that you are not sufficiently injured to be able to make a claim. If we are wrong in that assumption, please do let us know as you would otherwise have grounds to claim compensation.


I had an accident at work where a pallet full of steel fell on me injuring my leg and foot, work say i am to blame as i loaded the pallet on to the table incorrectly and when i pulled it to move it the pallet tipped, bringing the table with it. I believe the pallet was loaded incorrectly (not by me).

Ian Morris

Are your employers blaming you after reading the contents of an independent report in to the accident at work? Or have they reached their conclusion based on their own (not independent) investigations? If the employer has not had an independent investigation conducted, they are not really in a position to apportion blame to you.

However, you may also struggle to apportion responsibility for the accident on the fact that the pallet was loaded incorrectly. Do you have evidence of this?

If you have not yet discussed your accident at work with a specialist Solicitor and had some detailed work done to further investigate your potential claim, we would like to speak to you further so that our Solicitors can look in to this for you. Our article on falling object claims might also be of interest.


Hi, whilst at work in a shop, a customer dropped a bottle of wine which smashed. I went to help my colleague clear up the spillage. I approached the area whilst holding a broom in my right hand and stepped on a chunk of glass from the bottom of the bottle which had skidded away from the impact area. My ankle turned and I fell hard to the floor, my right hand slamming down on to the brush head. I went to A&E the following morning as my hand had swelled and was badly bruised. I had completely snapped the little finger metacarple. My employer has said that it happened because of my own clumsiness, and that I am possibly facing a disciplinary about the amount of time I am needing to take off because of the accident. I am appalled at my treatment and considering whether to make a claim for compensation against them. Do you think I have a valid case? I have had H&S training on how to deal with spillage and clearing away glass properly, but no where did it mention the risk of standing on a piece of glass and falling as a result from such a breakage

Ian Morris

The scenario you describe is an unusual one! Whilst your employer has issued training regarding the handling of the issue in which you were injured, it would appear that the cause of your injury was not covered. Of course, the employers insurance are likely to argue that they are not liable in this matter as the glass item that caused you to roll your ankle was not left in situ for a considerable time and that you failed to check whether it was safe to walk where you walked. That said, a claimant Solicitor would counter those arguments by arguing that you were required to attend the scene and that you had followed the training provided.

With this in mind, the most sensible thing to do would be to present your claim enquiry to our specialist Solicitors for detailed consideration so that they could advise whether, in their qualified and expert view, a claim for compensation would be a viable option going forward.


I had an accident at work and wasn’t given proper PPE. My employer has now given me a written verbal but not to my face and a final warning in one go. Is that fair?

Ian Morris

Why has your employer issued you with a written warning? If you were injured due to the employers failure to provide you with the correct PPE, you could pursue a claim against them.

It certainly seems a little unfair to issue you with a written and final warning – unless of course, you were acting in a manner that contravened training and policies that you had previously been told to follow?


I fell at work in the field and couldn’t claim against the council. Can I claim against my former employers insurance?

Ian Morris

Whether or not you can make a claim against your employer for the injuries you sustained whilst at work will depend on what caused you to suffer injury. We will need to understand how you came to fall and what your injuries were in order to be able to identify whether or not your employer has been negligent towards you.

You can only claim compensation from an employers employer liability insurance if the employer has failed in their requirements to provide a safe working environment, adequate training and appropriate work equipment and protective wear.

Please call us on 01225430285 to discuss your accident in more detail so that we can advise you as to whether or not you can claim compensation.


i was studying a work related course in the training room, when the presentation finished i leaned back on my chair, the chair collapsed as i fell i hit my neck on the radiator behind.

I have since returned to work after 4 weeks off due to the pain in my neck.

My employers have said they will pay me for being off, can i claim for pain and suffering and expenses back and forth to docs and hospital?

Ian Morris

Even though your Employers are paying you whilst you are off work through injury (which is quite a generous offer as this often does not happen!), you are fully entitled to make a claim against their insurance cover for compensation for your injuries and associated costs.

Given your description of the accident and cause of your injuries, you would appear to have a valid claim. Please call us on 01225430285 so that we can discuss this with you further and explain how we can help you with this process.


I got my finger trapped in an embroidery machine at work. Part of the needle is embedded deep under the tissue and may need surgically removed. I received NO training on the machine. I normally do a completely different job. When we are short of work im put on a machine to embroider garments. I’ve never questioned this as we have no union representative and in this place you do what your told. They are refusing to pay me time off and want me back on Monday. Accident happened Tuesday morning. Do I have grounds for compensation?

Ian Morris

You certainly have grounds to pursue a claim against your employer. They have completely failed you in terms of health and safety by not ensuring that you are trained to work the machine safely.

The employer is not obliged to pay you if you are off work – even if the reason for absence is due to a work related injury. However, we can help you recover any lost income as part of a claim for compensation against the employer. Our specialist Solicitors would seek to recover compensation for the pain and discomfort of the injury along with full recovery of incurred costs and loss of income if successful with your claim.


I fell over at work, just tripped. Broke my arm in 3 places. It was just a trip, nobody was to blame. Can I claim?

Ian Morris

You can only claim compensation if you can attribute ‘blame’ or negligence on another person or business. In your case, you mention that you tripped and that nobody was at fault. Therefore, if you simply tripped over your own feet you have no claim. If however, you tripped on a defective floor surface or due to a hazard on the floor at work, you can make a claim against the employers insurance.

If you would like to discuss your accident in detail to find out whether you can claim, please call us on 01225430285.


I am a builder and my one and only employee has injured a bone in his hand whilst digging on site. The doctor told him to go home but he came back to work with a support on. Can he claim?

Ian Morris

Whether or not your employee can claim compensation will depend on the cause of the injury to his hand. If he has simply injured his hand by way of working physically and due to misfortune, there is unlikely to be a claim to pursue. If however, he has injured his hand as a result of negligence – such as using machinery without the correct training to do so or without the correct PPE issued, he may have a valid claim.

In most cases, if an employer works with an injured party to help them through the short term issues caused by an injury (such as lighter duties or paying them whilst they are in need of a short period off work), an injured party will not wish to pursue a claim against their employer.


I recently had an accident at work. I was leaving work, closing the gate behind me when my ankle was caught under the wrought iron fence. This severed my Achilles’ tendon and needed an operation and will require weeks in a cast. Do you think I would be able I make a claim based on the fence being dangerous (it’s like a razor at the bottom) I was never given training on how to open or close the gate which is very large (about 8 meters wide) and was on my own when it happened. I managed to limp to get help and received first aid. No ambulance was sent for me,(as they thought it would take too long) instead my partner was called and took me to a and e where I waited another 2 hours to be seen. This process may have caused further damage to the tendon.

Ian Morris

Given the severity of your injury, it would be sensible and wise to make a claim for compensation. Whether or not the training issue is relevant will be something our specialist Solicitors can consider, but the razor sharp edging of the gate/fence may well be of interest.

If you haven’t already done so, it would be sensible to ensure that an accident report/accident book entry has been made at work and we would also recommend that you obtain some photographs of the gate if at all possible – with some close up images of the edge that lacerated your achillies.


My partner hit his head on the edge of the door as someone opened it at work and had a 2cm deep wound on his eyebrow which needed glueing at a hospital, would he be entitled to make a claim?

Ian Morris

Any person injured in a non-fault accident has a right to make a claim for compensation. In this case, whether or not your Partner will succeed with a claim will depend on whether or not the employer should have foreseen such an accident and taken steps to reduce the possibility of such an accident.

Given the severity of the laceration to your Partner’s face, it would be wise to further investigate making a claim for him. Please ask him to use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website to make further contact with us so that our specialist staff can speak with him to discuss the incident and ascertain whether or not a claim can follow.


Hi my wife dislocated her knee 12 weeks ago, no one’s fault she just turned in the office, her body went one way and her knee went the other. It’s just her knee is still as swollen and painful today as it was when she had the accident. She has lost out on a lot of overtime that she regularly does and this month her pay is going down to half. I know it’s no one’s fault but was wondering what our options would be?

Ian Morris

If your wife’s injury was caused by nothing other than an unfortunate blameless incident, there is nothing that she can do in terms of claiming compensation. To claim compensation to recover lost income or compensation for the injury, a person needs to be able to identify negligence or blame on someone else that can then be claimed against.


A sliding door jammed on me and I caught my elbow in the door as I struggled out of the door. At the time I was shocked but didn’t think too much of it. However, I am now getting pain in the elbow and when I lift or flex my fingers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t record in this in the accident book at time as I didn’t appreciate the severity of the situation.

My elbow is still sore and painful and the door stuck again today. I have informed security and they said have that they are aware of issue and it has already been reported. How do I go forward? The initial accident was about 3 weeks ago.

Ian Morris

The accident at work scenario you describe is a clear reminder as to why it is really important to ensure that any accident at work is immediately recorded within the employers accident book. Injuries are often not immediately present and most of us optimistically assume that we’ll be ok, but it is not uncommon that injuries become apparent in the days and weeks post accident – especially soft tissue injuries.

With regards to your situation, my view is that you could and should make a claim for compensation. It would seem clear that the employer is aware of a faulty door and that this has been reported to them. As such, they should have made all staff aware of the risks of using the door or removed it from use. As they have not done so, you have a prospect of succeeding with a claim for compensation. As your employer was not made aware of your accident at work when it happened, you should now put a report in to them in writing outlining what happened to you on the day of the accident and of the injury you are now suffering with. You could send such a report to the employer by email or post. Of course, you should also make a GP appointment to discuss the accident at work and the injury you are suffering with.

We would like to help you make your claim for compensation and can help you on a No Win No Fee basis. To start your claim, please call us on 01225430285 or use the ‘start your claim’ page of our website.


I tripped inside an industrial oven were they bake powdercoated sprayed items. I was walking backwards with my supervisor carrying an item that had fallen off the track and tripped on the uneven old oven floor causing 2 fractures of my vertebrate and in a back brace now for 8 weeks. Should I claim?

Ian Morris

Whether or not you ‘should’ claim compensation is a decision entirely for you. However, on the basis of your description of the incident and the cause of your fall, it would certainly appear that you have every reason to pursue a claim and a valid motivation for claiming accident at work compensation.

If the floor of the industrial oven was uneven and in disrepair, there is a strong possibility that the employer could be found liable for failing to prevent your accident and therefore be held responsible for your injuries and associated losses. You have clearly suffered a very serious injury with a strong possibility that the injuries will present a permanent issue for you with regards to your strength and physical ability. With this in mind, you should certainly consider exercising your legal right to pursue a claim for compensation for the back injury you have suffered at work. You have serious injuries to consider as well as a likely loss of income both in the short term and possibly in the longer term if your injuries do not heal as you hope they will.

UK law affords any person injured in a non-fault accident the right to make a claim for compensation. Any claim must be made within 3 years of the date of the accident.

We would be very happy to help you and answer any questions you may have regarding the claims process and how claiming compensation could benefit you. Please call us on 01225430285 to find out more. You won’t get any pressure from us to pursue a claim, simply the help and information you need to be able to make a decision that suits you and your family.


I had a serious bout of sciatica last July, I was off work for four weeks, my injury was caused by lifting rubbish bags that have food waste in them to shoulder height to throw in the back of the lorry.
My company, Serco gave me all relevant training but, there is no training for lifting rubbish bags to the height needed to reach the back of the lorry. The council Serco works on behalf of (Havering) tell us we have to pick up all excess rubbish bags on the floor. I now have nerve damage in my leg and have had to give up my job.

Ian Morris

Employers are required to provide manual handling training to all employees who will be expected to perform any kind of lifting whilst at work. This would include all lifting – whether someone in an office who simply has to pick up the odd pack of paper to load a printer or someone in a manual role expected to lift regularly. Providing training for safe lifting is important as it helps employers fulfill their obligation to ensure that workers are able to minimise the risk of injury whilst at work. However, providing the training does not in and of itself absolve an employer from liability should one of their employees go on to sustain injury as a result of repeated lifting.

In your case, it would appear that the requirements of the work you were expected to perform were incompatible with the manual handling training that you received. As such, it could be that the employer has failed to provide you with a working environment that enabled you to work safely and it may be possible that you could successfully claim compensation for the back injury and sciatica that you have suffered if we can prove that it was caused by your work and your employers negligence.

Of course, it is not possible at this stage to say for sure whether or not you could succeed with your claim but the description that you have given certainly indicates that a claim should be made. Please either call us on 01225430285 or use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website to make further contact with us and enable us to investigate your claim for compensation on a No Win No Fee basis.

Chat with us for friendly, expert advice 01225 430285