Accidents at work naturally cause a lot of stress and anxiety, and understandably, compensation claims against an employer present a difficult situation for both parties. However, you can maintain a good relationship and get things resolved in everyone’s interest with the right approach.
Just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation. It can’t be your own fault – it must be demonstrated that the employer was liable and exposed the staff to risk of injury. In this article we look at what’s involved in a work accident claim, how to make a successful one, and what amount of compensation you can expect.
Why claim compensation?
Claiming personal injury compensation will help ease some of the personal and practical problems you’ll face following your accident. As well as a financial compensation settlement, claiming can also help you in other ways:
- Making a claim is your legal right, and fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault.
- It can pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery.
- It can make up for lost income now and in the future.
Managing financially can be a real problem for many claimants. Especially if their injuries are serious enough to prevent them from working and getting paid what they are used to. As such, the driving factor for a claim is usually the sudden loss of income, not the pain or discomfort of injuries. Most employers only pay the standard salary for a short period, then many people find themselves living off nothing more than basic sick pay. We normally find you have two immediate concerns:
- When will I be able to get back to work?
- How will I pay my bills in the meantime?
Once your claim is active, we can request a payment for any treatment required to return you to work as soon as possible. We can also obtain a payment on account of your compensation from your employer’s insurance company to cover the period you are unable to work.
All claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, so you will never be charged if your claim fails to succeed. A successful claim will lead to a compensation settlement being made to you, with the value of the claim including any lost income and incurred costs. In addition, you’ll receive a settlement for the injuries you have suffered and medical treatment that you have required.
Employers are insured
Do not feel that reporting the accident would damage the reputation or financial health of your company. All employers must have insurance to protect both you and them should you have an accident at work. Therefore, any compensation for a work related injury will be paid by the insurance company, not your employer. You can make a claim in the knowledge that you are not jeopardising any colleagues’ employment.
Employers have responsibilities after an accident at work and employees have the right to pursue a claim for compensation. Any worker can claim, whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary agency staff.
It is the employer’s responsibility to understand an accident and take the right measures, rather than the employee.
Every company that employs staff is responsible for their health and safety whilst they are working. If an employer does not have proper procedures in place, they are breaching their responsibilities and they can be prosecuted. Your employer is legally responsible for your safety.
It is up to the employer to carry out risk assessments and ensure the workplace is safe and free from hazardous objects. This includes allocating first aiders and providing training on lifting and handling office equipment. The employer should also ensure that staff are provided with the necessary equipment to protect them while undertaking any activity.
Your employer has a legal obligation to report any accidents to the Incident Contact Centre of the Health and Safety Executive. Any accident will need to be reported, regardless of how minor.
One requirement is to ensure that details of any incident are recorded within an accident book or accident recording system. These details can prove to be extremely important when it comes to a solicitor winning a claim for injury compensation. If an employer has refused you the right to record the details of your accident within their accident book, or you just haven’t done so, it doesn’t mean you can’t claim. A strong record in an accident book is just one of the many key bits of evidence that can help any personal injury compensation claim reach a successful outcome, and you can often find other means of proving what happened.
Making a successful claim
Just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation. To make a valid 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. Whilst it is vital you seek proper advice to assess whether or not you have a viable claim, there are some basic pointers that can help you identify where you stand.
Potential signs of liability
- 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. In most cases, it is relatively easy for us to evaluate the likely outcome of a claim for workplace accident compensation. If you are unsure whether you have a valid claim, please do contact us and we’ll be able to tell you.
Actions to take
The following actions should be taken to give yourself the best chance of winning your compensation claim:
- The matter should be recorded in the employer’s accident book. The injured party should contribute to what is written and only sign it when they are happy it is accurate. Previous complaints or comments about potential hazards that relate to the accident in question should be noted. The injuries should be described and their cause listed. The injured party should ask for a copy of the accident book entry. In circumstances where there is no accident book entry, there are still things you can do.
- The injured party must receive medical treatment. This could be by attending their GP, or A&E.
- If possible, obtain the names and addresses of supporting witnesses. Whilst the accident book entry is the main evidence for an accident at work claim, having supporting statements from colleagues can provide a stronger prospect of success in certain cases.
- Following medical treatment, explain the situation to the employer and discuss the likelihood of any return to work.
It is important to ensure the details of the accident and injuries have been correctly recorded as soon as possible. If you have had an accident at work you should explain to your employer the exact series of events that caused it. Immediately reporting will help them curtail such accidents in future by adopting proper safety precautions.
If the employer is not convinced with your explanation, bring in witness testimonies to verify your story. The witnesses in this case would most probably be your fellow employees and colleagues.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to do any of this yet, get in touch and we’ll be able to guide you and help you get your claim off to a good start.
How much personal injury compensation will I receive?
Every claim is different. However, there are guidelines issued by the courts for solicitors and you’ll find a table below showing what amount of compensation you can expect depending on your injury. All our solicitors are experts in handling work accident compensation claims and know how to use these guidelines to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation. You will be advised as to the likely level of compensation for your injuries once initial evidence has been collected.
In addition to the award for your injuries, you will also receive compensation for all other losses and expenses reasonably incurred as a result of the work accident. Your expert solicitor will advise you what expenses you can claim but these are likely to include some or all of the following:
- Lost earnings if you have been away from work as a result of the accident
- Treatment for your injuries
- Miscellaneous expenses (bus fares, painkillers etc)
One of the other major benefits of making a claim for compensation is the possibility of accessing excellent rehab therapies. Our specialist solicitors will look to obtain such treatments for claimants, including physiotherapy, massage therapy, osteopathy and many other kinds of intervention. You can recover more quickly and therefore be in a position to return to work and get back to normality sooner.
Compensation Amounts Guide
The following is a guide to how much you can expect to claim, just for your injury. It does not include amounts for “special damages”, for example, loss of earnings, expenses or medical treatment.
Head and Face
|Part Of Body||Severity||Compensation Amount|
|Head||Minor eg: no brain damage||£1,600 to £9,700|
|Head||Serious eg: lasting changes||£11,600 to £214,300|
|Head||Severe eg: full-time care||£214,300 to £307,000|
|Eyes||Minor eg: temporary vision problems||£1,650 to £6,700|
|Eyes||Serious eg: lost sight in one eye||£6,900 to £50,000|
|Eyes||Severe eg: near or total blindness||£80,500 to £204,200|
|Ears||Minor eg: partial hearing loss||£5,300 to £34,650|
|Ears||Serious eg: hearing loss in one ear||£23,850 to £34,650|
|Ears||Severe eg: total deafness||£68,950 to £107,500|
|Face||Minor eg: light scarring||£1,290 to £2,670|
|Face||Serious eg: facial fracture||£1,770 to £28,950|
|Face||Severe eg: facial disfigurement||£13,700 to £74,500|
|Part Of Body||Severity||Compensation Amount|
|Neck||Minor eg: whiplash||£1,850 to £6,050|
|Neck||Serious eg: fractures or dislocation||£29,300 to £42,500|
|Neck||Severe eg: partial or total paralysis||£34,570 to £112,800|
|Back||Minor eg: strains or soft tissue damage||£300 to £9,450|
|Back||Serious eg: permanent pain||£9,450 to £29,500|
|Back||Severe eg: partial or total paralysis||£29,450 to £122,300|
|Shoulder||Minor eg: pain for less than two years||£300 to £6,050|
|Shoulder||Serious eg: pain lasting a few years||£6,050 to £9,750|
|Shoulder||Severe eg: significant disability||£9,750 to £36,450|
|Hips and Pelvis||Minor eg: recovery within a few years||£3,000 to £9,580|
|Hips and Pelvis||Serious eg: hip replacement||£9,550 to £29,850|
|Hips and Pelvis||Severe eg: long term effects, bowel damage||£29,800 to £99,550|
Hands and Arms
|Part Of Body||Severity||Compensation Amount|
|Finger||Minor eg: fracture||Up to £360|
|Finger||Serious eg: amputation||£3,000 to £14,255|
|Finger||Severe eg: multiple amputation||£6,570 to £69,050|
|Thumb||Minor eg: recovery within a few months||Up to £1,680|
|Thumb||Serious eg: tendon or nerve damage||£3,050 to £9,550|
|Thumb||Severe eg: loss of grip, amputation||£9,550 to £12,740|
|Hand||Minor eg: cuts and soft tissue damage||£650 to £22,000|
|Hand||Serious eg: significant effect on use||£22,000 to £47,000|
|Hand||Severe eg: amputation or loss of use||£47,000 to £153,150|
|Wrist||Minor eg: quick recovery after fracture||£2,650 to £3,550|
|Wrist||Serious eg: continuing discomfort||£5,600 to £18,620|
|Wrist||Severe eg: partial or total loss of use||£18,600 to £45,450|
|Elbow||Minor eg: tennis or golfer’s elbow||£2,650 to £9,550|
|Elbow||Serious eg: significant restricted movement||£11,850 to £24,300|
|Elbow||Severe eg: surgery or disability||£29,750 to £41,650|
|Arm||Minor eg: quick recovery after fracture||£5,000 to £29,750|
|Arm||Serious eg: restricted movement or disability||£29,750 to £99,450|
|Arm||Severe eg: amputation||£73,050 to £228,050|
|Part Of Body||Severity||Compensation Amount|
|Toe||Minor eg: fracture||£4,200 to £7,300|
|Toe||Seriouseg: ongoing symptoms||£7,300 to £16,050|
|Toe||Severe eg: amputation||£23,750 to £42,650|
|Foot||Minor eg: constant pain but no disability||£5,320 to £10,445|
|Foot||Serious eg: fractured heel or foot||£19,000 to £53,150|
|Foot||Severe eg: amputation||£63,820 to £153,250|
|Achilles||Minor eg: weakened ankle||£5,520 to £16,050|
|Achilles||Serious eg: partial tendon tear||£18,950 to £22,850|
|Achilles||Severe eg: severed tendon||Up to £29,250|
|Ankle||Minor eg: sprain or fracture||£10,400 to £20,150|
|Ankle||Serious eg: surgery required||£23,850 to £38,000|
|Ankle||Severe eg: major disability or amputation||£38,000 to £52,995|
|Knee||Minor eg: twists, dislocation||£4,600 to £19,950|
|Knee||Serious eg: some disability, long-term pain||£19,850 to £32,990|
|Knee||Severe eg: constant pain or disability||£39,600 to £73,120|
|Leg||Minor eg: fracture or soft tissue damage||£1,850 to £19,850|
|Leg||Serious eg: long-term effects||£21,050 to £103,200|
|Leg||Severe eg: amputation||£74,450 to £214,300|
Work Claims FAQ
Can agency or temporary workers make a claim?
The same health and safety at work regulations cover all employees, therefore any can make a claim. This is regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, on a short-term contract or even working via a 3rd party agency on temporary terms. Employers must ensure that all staff are adequately trained to work safely and provided with the right equipment. They should also have knowledge of company procedures, how to access support and how to report any incidents and where to seek first aid assistance.
Will claiming compensation cost me my job?
The answer to this is straightforward – no. Another one of those personal injury compensation myths designed to put you off from claiming for your injuries.
Will claiming compensation after an accident at work damage my employer?
Again, this is a myth. Whilst it’s never good to have to claim against their insurance cover, it will not damage the business in the long run. If your employer has breached safety guidelines and is liable it is only fair that you should receive compensation. The worst that will happen to the employer from the perspective of your successful claim against them is that they will be likely to see a rise in their insurance premium and have to pay an excess towards your claim. One positive of such an outcome is that it’s likely to get the employer to make changes to the way that they work, so that future employees can enjoy a safer workplace.
Can I prove that my employer is responsible?
This isn’t something you should normally have to worry about. Your specialist personal injury solicitor will know the law and how to hold someone to account.
Will my colleagues find out about my claim?
Another no. The details of your claim are confidential. Your employer must tell no persons other than their insurers, and your solicitor will adhere to data protection guidelines. It’s up to you who you tell or don’t tell about your claim.
Will me making a claim help protect colleagues?
It’s always important to report any workplace accident. If you do so and then make a successful claim, your employer is likely to sit up and take notice. They can amend their work practices and reduce the risk of the same thing happening again.
How long do I have to claim?
Normally you have three years from the date of the accident to make your claim for compensation. This can be extended for an even longer period in some circumstances, for example, if you were not 18 years old at the time.
It is always worthwhile seeking guidance from fully qualified personal injury solicitors who specialise in accidents at work. We can help you to understand the process and complete it without hassle, maintaining your relationship with your employer to its best level.
Contact Direct 2 Compensation for confidential, friendly advice and we can start looking after you and your claim.